I watched this guy a lot this season, and I don't think any defensive player had a better overall year than Mack. OK, my brother, Derek, was
slightly off on his prediction of
Mack's sack count, but I'd take this guy on my team any day of the week.
Raiders had problems on defense all season, but
Khalil Mack wasn't one of them. He finished the year with 11 sacks, five forced fumbles,
a pick-six and enough big plays to help Oakland reach the postseason for the first time since 2002. Imagine where this defense would be without him.
After an average rookie year,
streamlined his body and improved in every meaningful category. He made so many plays for this
Giants defense it looked like there were two of him on the field.
Khalil Mack wins this one for me this year. He was a force and the leader of the
Raiders' defense. He attracted a ton of attention and still had 11 sacks and multiple turnovers. He's due for
a big payday this offseason.
From Week 1 to Week 17, against the run or the pass,
Von Miller was the best overall defensive player in football on a snap-to-snap basis. Don't penalize him because his teammates struggled.
I went with
Khalil Mack because of his versatility as a pass rusher, run defender and cover man. You can move him around and impact the quarterback from multiple positions. He racked up 73 tackles, 11 sacks, five forced fumbles, three pass breakups and even
returned an interception for a touchdown. No other pass rusher compiled that kind of stat sheet.
Giants were the most improved defense in the NFL -- the unit played a huge role in the midseason turnaround that saw the team win six games in a row. And at one point,
Landon Collins led the
Giants in most defensive categories. It seemed like he was making game-changing (or game-
sealing) plays every week. Nobody played better than this guy, in my opinion.
I was behind some
Bears fan at the draft in Chicago a couple years ago and this homer screamed for his squad (our squad?) to take
Vic Beasley instead of
Kevin White. Why isn't that guy the
Bears GM? I know, analysis.
No defender had a classic year, but Mack was clutch and dominant, collecting 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and
a pick-six. He gets the nod --
as I predicted he would in the preseason -- over Atlanta's
Vic Beasley, Seattle's
Bobby Wagner and Tampa Bay's
Even though the
Broncos didn't make the postseason,
Von Miller single-handedly won them a few games and was a terror all year.
At various points this season, the
Seahawks were without some key defensive players --
Kam Chancellor and
Earl Thomas -- so
Bobby Wagner had to make up for a lot. And he
led the league in tackles (167) while also logging 4.5 sacks and a pick.
Giants' defensive front understandably received a lot of attention in 2016, but
Landon Collins was literally all over the field, leading a Big Blue defense tasked with making up for its offense's deficiencies.
Chiefs had a lot of good defensive players, but that unit doesn't
Eric Berry. He was the quarterback of the defense and made countless game-changing plays for Kansas City.
There's not one player who has really separated from the pack for Defensive Player of the Year -- like
J.J. Watt did in three of the last four seasons. So I'm going to give this one to the league's sack leader,
Vic Beasley. He came into his own in just his second pro season and had a breakout campaign with 15.5 sacks and six forced fumbles. It was a great year for this young pass rusher.
For me, the Defensive Player of the Year race comes down to
Khalil Mack and
Vic Beasley. I'm giving this one to Mack because he made impact plays for the
Raiders on a regular basis. He forced quarterbacks to turn the ball over countless times and was very disruptive in the run game.
Mack set the tone all season for the
Raiders' defense. Not to mention, he racked up 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and a pick.