The 2016 season, as head coach Jack Del Rio described it, was a return to greatness for the Oakland Raiders. The roster put forth a 12-4 record, while the offense and defense each had stellar performances from seven total Pro Bowlers.
On Wednesday, the Pro Football Writers of America announced that Raiders’ defensive end Khalil Mack has been awarded their annual defensive player of the year award. The Pro Football Writers of America performed a survey amongst themselves, with Mack coming out on top.
Mack had another dominant season, following in the footsteps of his breakout during this second season. During his third season, he totaled 54 tackles (19 assisted), with 11 sacks, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, three passes defended and a pick-six.
During Week 9, Mack became the first player since 2009 (Charles Woodson) to record a sack, interception returned for a touchdown, forced fumble and fumble recovery in the same game. He earned the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for November, while being awarded the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 9 and Week 12.
The 25-year-old made an impact in countless weeks, even when facing constant double teams. During the Raiders multiple close contests this season, Del Rio counted on the defense for one final stop, to earn the victory.
It was during these moments where Mack would shine. In back-to-back weeks, Mack was able to strip sack the opposing quarterback, falling on the ball and sealing on the deal.
Mack’s contract is slated to end this season, but the third-year player does have an option for the next season, which should be used to help delegate the fantasy situation between him and Derek Carr.
Earlier this week, the Pro Football Writers of America announced the All-Rookie team, with Raiders’ safety Karl Joseph making the cut.