With the NFL’s top 100 well under way, we here at Real Sport thought we would give you our own version; The RS 100. Every writer here had the chance to vote for the 100 best players from the 2015 season. This ranking was done regardless of position value or salary cap cost. It was simply based on who had the best 2015 season. As a result you won’t see quality players like Jordy Nelson anywhere on our ranking as he didn’t play a single snap in the 2015 season.
Voting panel: Toby Durant, Remy Cabache, Cameron Tennyson, Rebecca Rennie, Daniel Hernandez, David Pruett, Ryan Tolster
Khalil Mack, Defensive End, Oakland Raiders
(TD: #7, RC: #10, CT: #9, RR: #6, DH: #15, DP: #5, RT: #11)
Mack has just 2 NFL seasons under his belt and yet he slides in at #9 in our top 100.
Mack’s rookie season was full of promise and potential but with minimal results. Played as a full time linebacker it kept him from using his impressive rushing skills play in and play out, and while he can play off the line and in space pretty well he is far more effective playing in the backfield. As 2015 proved.
Mack’s numbers exploded as he spent more til with his hand in the dirt, and in turn quarterbacks spent more time picking themselves up off the floor. Mack’s numbers in 2015 were spectacular: 15 sacks, 24 QB hits and the second most tackles for loss in the NFL with 23. His speed and balance on the outside, together with terrific hands, made him a deadly force all season.
The above gif is from Mack’s single-handed destruction of the Denver Broncos in week 14. He ended that game with 5 total sacks and 7 QB hits as he tore apart the offensive line. It was genuinely dangerous what Mack did that day and the best single-game performance (on the stat sheet at least) of the season for a defensive player.
While Mack’s pass rushing is what gains him the attention, and will ultimately be the reason why he will get paid all the money, his coverage skills are surprisingly strong for someone with a small school background and has been a pass rusher for most of his life.
Mack’s 2015 season and overall ridiculous athleticism suggest he could become even more of a force next year. Oakland fans can see the light at the end of their long, bleak tunnel and Mack is one of the main reasons.