After the first four games of the season, Khalil Mack looked like the front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year. 

An ankle injury slowed down the hype train as his production came back down to Earth, but he still finished the year as one of the NFL’s top play-makers at the outside linebacker position.

His 12.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles, four pass breakups and one pick six weren’t enough to beat out Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald for the DPOY award, but Mack did earn some consideration.

Donald led the league with 20.5 sacks this year, which was 4.5 sacks more than J.J. Watt in second place. Only six players in NFL history have had more sacks in a single season than Donald did in 2018.

Watt also finished the season with more sacks, tackles for loss and forced fumbles than Mack, but he did not receive a vote for Defensive Player of the Year.

Mack’s production in Assistant Coach of the Year Vic Fangio’s defense was something Chicago hadn’t seen for nearly a decade. Even without the award to show for it, his future remains bright under new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano.