The Oakland Raiders are fortunate enough to have two franchise pillars in their organization, each affecting the offense and defensive side of the ball. While quarterback Derek Carr leads the offensive charge, defensive end Khalil Mack is progressing into an elite force and scaring opposing quarterbacks.
Only three years into his career, Mack has already been voted an All-Pro and Pro-Bowl player the past two seasons. His electric and relentless motor put a stamp on many games this season for the Raiders, with forced fumbles and fumble recoveries in crucial fourth quarter moments.
His ferocity has already earned respect around the NFL, with many legends and former players taking notice. Future Hall-of-Famer DeMarcus Ware, who just retired this offseason, had some high praise for Mack and his development, via NFL Total Access:
— NFL Total Access (@NFLTotalAccess) May 17, 2017
Ware was one of the premiere defensive players during his 12 seasons in the NFL, with his 6’4″, 247 lbs. frame wreaking havoc on quarterbacks. The nine-time Pro-Bowl selection and four-time All-Pro player set career highs of 20 sacks, six forced fumbles, and 69 tackles during the 2009 season, while also capturing a 2016 Super Bowl victory.
During his 12-year and 178-game career, Ware totaled 138.5 sacks, 659 tackles (505 solo), eight fumble recoveries, 35 forced fumbles and 26 passes defended. When taking a look at his first three seasons compared to that of Mack, it’s easy to see the Hall-of-Fame road Mack has put himself on.
During his first three seasons, Ware had 33.5 sacks, 213 tackles (164 solo), 12 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. On the other hand, Mack has accumulated 30 sacks, 225 tackles (170 solo), five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Mack put together a dominant 2016 campaign, earning the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. The 26-year-old will soon receive a franchise contract from the Raiders, after the organization exercised his fourth-year option to focus on Carr.