Khalil mack was born and raised in Fort Pierce, Florida where he grew up mainly playing baseball and basketball. Despite believing basketball was the way to a college athletic scholarship, Mack found a groove with football that would take him on a path that no one would have expected.
Initially playing quarterback for Fort Piece Westwood High School, Mack apparently struggled to throw the ball short, but excelled when chucking it deep. For that, his teammates affectionately called him “Bombshell Man.” But due to his lack of well-rounded passing, Mack switched to linebacker for what ended up being his only year of high school football.
During that season, Mack recorded a whopping 140 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and nine sacks. It was quite the stat line, but due to him being somewhat of an unknown at the prep level, Mack was only rated a two-star recruit by Rivals.com despite being a First-Team All-Area pick. Ultimately, Mack chose to continue his football career at the University of Buffalo.
If I go about listing all of Mack’s stats over the years like I’ve done for most of the players in this series, we’re going to be here all day because he absolutely filled the stat sheet in college. Heres a short-handed version:
- 2010 (Redshirt Freshman): 68 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles
- 2011 (Sophomore): 65 total tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, one interception, five forced fumbles, one blocked kick
- 2012 (Junior): 94 total tackles, 21 tackles for loss, eight sacks, four forced fumbles, one blocked kick
- 2013 (Senior): 100 total tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, three interceptions, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries
Mack was a three-time First-Team All-MAC pick from 2011-2013, including winning the MAC Defensive Player of the Year honor as a senior. He left Buffalo as the NCAA’s all-time leader in forced fumbles (16) and tied the record for tackles for loss in a career (75). He also was given the Jack Lambert Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker, and finished second in the voting for the Dick Butkus Award.
At the NFL combine, Mack ran a 4.65 in the 40-yard dash at 251 pounds. He also leapt 40” in the vertical jump and 10’8 in the broad. He’d go on to be drafted by the Raiders in the first round in 2013.
Mack was considered a candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year in the NFL after posting 76 tackles, four sacks, and three pass breakups but ultimately fell short at third behind Aaron Donald and C.J. Mosley. He made history in his second season by becoming the first player in NFL history to be named an All-Pro at two different positions, outside linebacker and defensive end. While playing both spots, Mack recorded a career-high 15 sacks and 23 tackles for loss.
In 2016, Mack won the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year honor after posting 11 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, an interceptions, three pass breakups, and five forced fumbles. He was also named a First-Team All-Pro for the second consecutive season.
From 2017 to 2022, as a member of the Raiders (2017), Bears (2018-2021), and Chargers (2022), Mack accumulated 291 tackles, 62 tackles for loss, 54.5 sacks, two interceptions, 16 pass breakups, 17 forced fumbles, and nine fumble recoveries. He was named an All-Pro twice with the Bears and came in second for another Defensive Player of the Year honor in 2018 when he posted 12.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. He was also voted to five Pro Bowls during that span with the only non-invite coming in 2021 when he suffered a season-ending injury after the first seven games.
In his first season with the Chargers, Mack unfortunately didn’t get much time to play opposite Joey Bosa before the latter missed 12 games with a groin injury. Mack still finished with eight sacks, 12 tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles.
Years with team: 1
“Khalil Mack signed a 6 year, $141,000,000 contract with the Chicago Bears, including a $34,000,000 signing bonus, $90,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $23,500,000. In 2023, Mack will earn a base salary of $1,165,000, a restructure bonus of $21,535,000 and a workout bonus of $200,000, while carrying a cap hit of $16,632,500 and a dead cap value of $30,735,000.” - Spotrac.com
Despite being on the wrong side of 30, Mack is still the level of elite player that opposing defenses have to account for him on every play. He still possessing elite play-strength to walk opposing offensive tackles into the quarterback if he wins the leverage battle and all it usually takes is one hand on the passer to effectively bring him down.
Mack is also just a phenomenal veteran presence to have in the locker room and in the position room that includes youngster Chris Rumph II and Tuli Tuipulotu. His guidance is surely going to pay off for those two in the near future.
After posting seven sacks in the team’s first eight games, Mack finished with just one quarterback takedown during the second half of the Chargers’ 2022 schedule. Some would say that it’s due to the lack of time he saw opposite Joey Bosa, but Mack was plenty productive in recent years without a premiere pass rusher playing alongside him. It remains to be seen if Mack truly is circling the drain, but it’s hard not to think he’ll improve on his numbers this year barring any setbacks.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2023?
Mack will be one of the Chargers’ starting two edge rushers with Joey Bosa. He’s still an absolute force off the edge and fans couldn’t be more excited to see their elite pass rush duo in action this year. Mack hasn’t posted double-digit sacks since the 2018 season, but something tells me he’s going to come close to that number in 2023.