Today's question: The Oakland Raiders' Khalil Mack, who will only be entering his third season, made NFL history by becoming the first player to be named All-Pro at two positions -- outside linebacker and defensive end -- in the same season. The reigning Super Bowl MVP is still in the division in the Broncos' Von Miller. So if were you a general manager in the AFC West, would you rather have Miller’s present or Mack’s future?
Jeff Legwold, Denver Broncos: Mack exploded into his second season with 15 sacks and has the look of a potential 20-sack player in a season to come, especially when you see games like his five-sack effort against the Broncos this past season. But Mack has 19 sacks after two seasons. Miller had 30 sacks after his first two seasons, including 11.5 in 15 games as a rookie. Year 3 is where things got dicey for Miller after getting hit with a six-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy before he tore his ACL in December. He rebounded with 11 sacks this past season and was Super Bowl MVP. So, if the question is, does Miller’s 60 sacks in five seasons with a Super Bowl win and Super Bowl MVP award outweigh what Mack might do in the next three seasons? The answer right now is yes, it does. Mack is a star who might shine more brightly in the seasons to come and likely has a season sack title, or two, in his future. And as his play in the postseason showed -- five sacks, two forced fumbles and interception -- Miller, too, is still an ascending player with the potential for a 20-sack season.
Adam Teicher, Kansas City Chiefs: This is one of those choices where you can’t go wrong, but I’d bet on Mack and what he might bring the next 10 years. Miller has 60 sacks in five NFL seasons, never less than 11 in a full season and never more than 18.5. Assuming Mack stays healthy, he’ll do better than that. Right now, he’s behind Miller in sacks per season. He has 19 through two seasons, so he’s averaging 2.5 sacks less than Miller’s 12. But Mack has the look of someone who’s going to consistently be in that range of the upper teens from this point on. More than any other player -- Miller included -- he has the best chance to break the NFL’s single-season sack record. The Raiders haven’t had a winning season since 2002, but that’s about to change. They’re about to head into a prosperous stretch and opposing quarterbacks will need to throw often in order to beat them. When they do, Mack will be there to register the sacks in big numbers.
Eric D. Williams, San Diego Chargers: While Mack’s future is certainly bright, I’ll take Miller’s present. The Texas A&M product is still young at 27 years old. Most elite pass-rushers age gracefully, which means Miller likely has several more productive seasons left in the tank. Even though he will sign a contract for big money, Miller doesn’t seem like the type of player to get complacent. And Miller already demonstrated he can carry a team with his dominant performance against the Carolina Panthers last season in Denver’s Super Bowl win. So Miller understands what it takes to reach the ultimate goal and can help guide the rest of his teammates along the way.