Houston Texans running back Jonathan Grimes (41) carries the ball as the Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack (52) looks to make the tackle during an NFL Wild Card Playoff game between the Houston Texans and the Oakland Raiders on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 in Houston. The Texans beat the Raiders 27-14. (Matt Patterson via AP)
By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer
HOUSTON, TX — Oakland Raiders defensive end/linebacker Khalil Mack took home the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award at the NFL Honor ceremony on Saturday night.
Mack would win his first career DPOY award over notable stars such as Giants safety Landon Collins, Denver pass rusher Von Miller, Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, and Seahawks thumping linebacker Bobby Wagner.
After a slow start to the 2016 season with just one sack in his first five games, Mack would go on a frenzy from mid-October through mid-December in which the former Buffalo standout would collect 10 sacks, 13 quarterback hits, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and a pick-six while helping the Silver & Black earn their first playoff berth since 2002.
Mack finished the season with 73 tackles, 11 sacks, five forced fumbles, and one interception.
Mack leads the NFL with 11 fourth-quarter sacks since 2015. That season, Mack finished with 15 sacks and became the first player ever in NFL history to be named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team at two different positions.
The straw that stirs the drink for Oakland’s defense was responsible for 44 percent of the Raiders’ sacks, while his 26 quarterback hits were second only to Donald’s 31 this season, per NFL Research.