The Chicago Bears gave up quite a bit to acquire Pro Bowl linebacker Khalil Mack. But many felt that the package they sent to the Oakland Raiders was more than worth it when considering the type of impact he makes.
Nothing has changed in this regard, because Mack is having an outstanding season for the Bears. He’s already racked up four sacks and four forced fumbles en route to leading Chicago to a surprising 3-1 start. That said, it’s worth asking whether Mack can become one of the rare defensive players to win an NFL MVP award.
Mack Needs to Have a Lawrence Taylor Type Season
The two main factors with regard to Khalil Mack winning MVP include his stats and Chicago’s success. Stats-wise, he needs to come close to or eclipse numbers set by Lawrence Taylor, the last defensive player to win league MVP.
Of course, simply recording a lot of sacks doesn’t guarantee him anything. But if he were to also tally plenty of interceptions and forced fumbles, the fifth-year linebacker would improve his case.
As it stands right now, Mack is on pace for 20 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, and four interceptions. Assuming he actually finishes the season with these type of numbers, then he definitely has a shot to capture MVP.
How Good Do the Bears Need to be for Mack to Win MVP?
The NFL doesn’t award its top honor to players on bad teams. That said, the Bears will also have to be successful in order for Mack to become a legitimate MVP candidate.
Nine wins is the absolute minimum that the Bears would need, along with a playoff berth. Chicago winning the NFC North title would further Mack’s bid for MVP.
Taylor’s Giants won the Super Bowl in 1986. I don’t think that the Bears need to do quite this well for Mack to take the MVP. But Chicago winning a division title might be the last piece of the puzzle.
Mack Has the Hype Behind Him
One thing that Mack undoubtedly has going for him this season is hype. Analysts have been talking about him ever since Oakland made the puzzling decision to ship him to the Bears.
Being on a new team – especially a historic one like Chicago – has brought Mack more attention than ever. He’s delivered under the spotlight too as his numbers show.
Again, he simply needs to continue this torrid pace and rack up individual stats to remain in the MVP conversation. Based on his past history, it doesn’t seem like Mack will have much difficulty doing so.
Ultimately, it comes down to how Chicago performs as a team. If they can have a strong season, then we might see the first defensive player win MVP in over three decades.