Maxx Crosby is in for a standout sophomore season with the Las Vegas Raiders.
During their last year in Oakland, the Las Vegas Raiders drafted two edge rushers within the first 106 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.
One of them was picked No. 4 overall, was a consensus first-round prospect, and was the premier pass rusher on a team that won the national championship. One of them recorded 7.5 sacks during his final season at Eastern Michigan and was picked in the fourth round.
If you assumed that the No. 4 pick, Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell was more productive as a rookie, you’d by wrong, as Maxx Crosby racked up 10 sacks during his first pro season as compared to Ferrell’s 4.5 sacks.
Look for the man who has become known as “Mad Maxx” to stay hot as he enters his second year in the pros.
Maxx Crosby fixed a lot of the flaws that hampered his draft stock.
Crosby’s explosion off the line of scrimmage and ability to use his hands as a rusher earned him some rave reviews from scouts, but concerns about his strength and ability to bend the edge helped drop him to the fourth round.
The Raiders saw that his burst and technical ability could help him see playing time immediately, and they were rewarded for their risk-taking after Crosby dominated in 2020.
When you combine his sacks with some solid run-stuffing ability and four forced fumbles, the Raiders might have found a pass-rush tandem in Crosby and Ferrell that can help turn this Vegas defense around. They have promising pieces on offense, running back Josh Jacobs chief among them, but the defense remains a patchwork assemblage of promising players with no cohesion.
If Crosby tops 10 sacks next year, that could start to change.
The Raiders are hoping and praying that Crosby’s rookie year wasn’t a flash in the pan, as they promoted him from fourth-rounder and rotational rusher to cornerstone of their defense for the next half-decade. Given how he stepped right from Ypsilanti to Oakland and was instantly productive, he should be even more comfortable in his surroundings and better on the field in his second season.