Having coached the vaunted Lawrence Taylor in the 1980s and early 1990s, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick knows elite pass rushers. But when asked how Chicago Bears LB Khalil Mack stacks up against LT, Belichick was quick to brush off the comparisons to the Hall of Fame pass rusher.
“Wait a minute, we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor now,” Belichick said at a press conference this week. “I’m not putting anybody in Lawrence Taylor’s class.”
Statistically, the comparisons between Mack and Taylor are reasonable.
The two had nearly identical sack totals through their first four seasons - though Mack slightly edges out Taylor.
As the Giants linebackers coach and later defensive coordinator, Bill Belichick helped develop Taylor into one of the most feared defensive players in NFL history en route to two Super Bowl wins for the Giants, and countless accolades for Taylor.
Mack, who the Bears acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Oakland Raiders earlier this year, had an average rookie season in 2014 before breaking out with 15.0 sacks in 2015 and another 11.0 sacks and five forced fumbles in 2016.
For his strong 2016 campaign, which helped the Raiders reach the playoffs for the first time since 2002, Mack was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year (an award LT won three times).
Taylor is the last defensive player to win the NFL's MVP Award, having done so in 1986.