Khalil Mack, DE, Oak­land Raiders

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

When: The star pass rusher forced two game-chang­ing turnovers — a pick­six, and a strip sack and fum­ble re­cov­ery — in the Raiders’ win over Carolina last week­end. Since bounc­ing back from a so-called slump this sea­son, Mack leads the NFL with 60 quar­ter­back pres­sures, ac­cord­ing to Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus.

What’s up: A first-round draft pick in 2014, Mack has mor­phed into one of Oak­land’s big­gest stars and is a big rea­son the Raiders are fi­nally good again. Last sea­son, he was the first player in his­tory to be se­lected all-pro first team at two po­si­tions — out­side line­backer and de­fen­sive end.

Back­ground: Mack en­sured his name wouldn’t be one eas­ily for­got­ten by Bron­cos fans. In a De­cem­ber 2015 game in Den­ver, he ripped through the Bron­cos’ of­fen­sive line to sack Brock Osweiler five times, ty­ing Howie Long’s sin­glegame fran­chise record (1983).

Jhab­vala’s take: Mack is the rare ath­lete in a league founded on rare ath­letes. Only three years into his NFL ca­reer, he has quickly be­come one of the top pass rush­ers — if not the best — in the game, best­ing even Von Miller ac­cord­ing to some ex­perts. In a di­vi­sion stacked with elite pass rush­ers, Mack con­tin­ues to stand out and will, again, be one of the Bron­cos’ big­gest ob­sta­cles in the fi­nal stretch of the sea­son.

Raiders de­fen­sive end Khalil Mack scores a touch­down af­ter in­ter­cept­ing a pass by Carolina quar­ter­back Cam New­ton last Sun­day. Tony Ave­lar, The Associated Press

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