Raiders edge rusher Khalil Mack was a dominant force in 2015, no matter where he lined up. The second-year pro was a stand-up outside linebacker at times, and a hand-in-the dirt defensive end at others. Conventional classification was hard to pin down, and Oakland's coaching staff didn’t feel like clarifying.
The Associated Press didn’t want to differentiate when selecting their annual All-Pro team, which honors the very best NFL players in a particular season and holds more weight than a Pro Bowl selection given the team’s exclusivity.
The 50-person panel named Mack a first-team All-Pro at outside linebacker and defensive end for 2015, the AP announced on Friday. That’s the first time a player has been on the first team at two spots.
"I do whatever I can to help the team win. I'm a team guy," Mack said. "Whether it's dropping in coverage or rushing the passer. I can do either. I think they (voters) saw that."
The decision to rank him at two different positions comes from a large body of work at each spot. According to ESPN's stats and information department, Mack took 439 snaps at outside linebacker and 467 at defensive end.
Houston’s defensive end J.J. Watt has been a first-team All-Pro at one spot and second-team at another. Mack is the first to occupy two spots on the same team.
Mack had an excellent season, with 77 tackles, 15 sacks, 66 other quarterback pressures, 23 tackles for losses, two forced fumbles and five batted passes. Mack was the league’s best edge rusher and one of the top three defensive players in the NFL this season.
An All-Pro honor was expected, just not at two positions. Mack was named to his first Pro Bowl earlier this year, and the latest honor is just for a dominant year.
The AP also announced that Watt and Minnesota's Adrian Peterson were unanimous selections.