Are there 18 players better than Khalil Mack in the NFL? Seems like an obvious 'no,' doesn't it?
But that appears to be the case if you believe in the NFL's list of the Top 100 Players of 2020. Mack checked-in at No. 19.
Maybe Mack's lower-than-expected ranking is the result of his worst statistical season since his rookie year in 2019. He totaled 8.5 sacks, his lowest single-season total since 2014 when he managed just four. Mack had four straight seasons of double-digit sacks before last year.
Still, it's an undeniable truth that Mack is one of the 10 most talented players in the NFL and a franchise cornerstone player. Those guys don't get ranked this low.
There's an overwhelming sense of pessimism around this Bears team entering 2020, and Mack's low ranking on the Top 100 Players list is a continuation of that. To be fair, this list is voted on by the players, so the media (or Packers fans) can't be blamed for it.
The addition of Robert Quinn to Chicago's pass rush should help Mack regain his dominant form as a sack artist. And remember: he doesn't have to wrangle 10 or more sacks to be worth every penny he's being paid.
It's quite possible that Quinn will have more sacks than Mack in 2020 simply because of the one-on-one situations he's put in due to Mack's presence. It's invisible production like that that makes No. 52 a much more valuable asset than any box score can possibly reflect.
Bears fans know how good Khalil Mack is. In fact, "good" doesn't adequately state the game-changer Mack has been for Chicago (and Oakland before the trade). But sometimes, fans can have a skewed perspective that overrates players on their favorite team.
In the case of Mack, that isn't true.
More than 50 NFL executives, coaches, scouts and players recently picked Mack as the NFL's best edge rusher, edging out Chandler Jones (Cardinals) and Nick Bosa (49ers) for the top spot, per ESPN.
ESPN shared quotes from three defensive coaches that expressed the same sentiment: Mack is a relentless game-wrecker who can beat opposing offenses in so many ways that he's virtually impossible to stop.
The Bears traded two first-round picks, a third-round pick, and a sixth-round pick to the Raiders on the eve of the 2018 season to acquire Mack, and he instantly paid dividends. Chicago enjoyed a 12-4 season and an NFC North title in his first year with the team but regressed to 8-8 last season because of the team's inept offense.
Now entering his third year with the Bears, Mack has the most talented running-mate of his career with the addition of Robert Quinn in free agency. This could be the season Mack pushes for 20 sacks -- yes, 20 sacks -- in what's setting up to be a pretty special season for Chicago's front-seven.
Madden ratings are out, which is kind of weird because haven't Madden ratings already been out? What have we been blogging about for the last week?
According to Maddenschool.com, a real website, here are some notable Bears' ratings:
- Khalil Mack – 97
- Eddie Jackson – 89
- Allen Robinson II – 89
- Akeem Hicks – 88
- Kyle Fuller – 85
- Eddie Goldman – 84
- Roquan Smith – 83
- Robert Quinn – 82
- Charles Leno Jr. – 81
- Cody Whitehair – 81
You can see everyone's rating right here.
The Bears are also apparently the 11th best team in the game? They got an 81 overall, with their 85 defense (ha!) buoying a 79 offense. They're also ranked higher than the Packers (14), Vikings (20), and Lions (30) (duh). All these ratings are fine. Everything about Madden 2021 is fine. Allen Robinson and Eddie Jackson should have gotten 90-grades, but again, this is a video game and it actually does not matter. Adjust the ratings if it matters to you. You're just going to play with the Chiefs anyways.