Rookie DE Maxx Crosby is the playmaker Raiders need

With the 106th pick in the NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders selected defensive lineman Maxx Crosby from Eastern Michigan. Below is a look at what Crosby brings to the table.

In reference to pass rushers, a wise man once said: “It’s hard to find a great one.” With that quote in mind and the Raiders lack of talent in that department, general manager Mike Mayock opted to draft three players who can get after the quarterback.  One of those picks was Eastern Michigan’s Maxx Crosby, who should add some much needed depth to Oakland’s defensive line and will help improve the team’s biggest deficiency from a year ago.

Being a small school product, the first question that comes up with Crosby is why he played there. A lot of times the answer is size, but at 6’5” and 255 pounds that’s not the case with Crosby. It looks like he was just a late bloomer and against Purdue, he showed he can hold his own (1.5 TFL and 1 sack) against power five competition. Crosby will have to prove he can hang with the big boys on a consistent basis and the Raiders should provide him with that chance early in his career. 

Stats According to Sports Reference:

Year Tackles Tackles for Loss Sacks
2016 35 5.5 1.5
2017 57 16.5 11
2018 70 19 7.5
Career 162 41 20

Crosby’s 20 career sacks will certainly be a welcomed sight for the Raiders and his 41 tackles for loss are just as impressive. Oakland can use a playmaker on the defensive line and these numbers suggest Crosby can fill that need.

Fit for the Raiders

Crosby can play strong side defensive end, but first round pick Clelin Ferrell projects to start at strong side end, so his best opportunity for early playing time will be on the weak side. Arden Key will enter training camp as the Raiders featured option at weak side defensive end, but Key and Crosby should be competing for the starting spot throughout camp. If Key ends up winning the job, Crosby will be competing with Josh Mauro and Benson Mayowa for the third sport in the defensive end rotation. That’s a competition Crosby can ultimately win. 

Raider Ramble Report

Crosby has extremely active hands and great feet. In pass rush, he is constantly moving his hands and working moves to swipe the offensive lineman’s hands away. His quick feet allow him to execute quick pass rush moves and run the hoop well. To top it off, Crosby has good closing speed to help finish plays with sacks. He also has a good inside stick move that will catch offensive linemen off balance.

While Crosby is an effective and aggressive pass rusher, sometimes his aggression works against him. At times, he will fire off the ball out of control and end up too far in the backfield, leaving him susceptible to screens and draws. This also creates bigger running lanes for the ball carrier. Crosby needs to stay under control more frequently because when he does, he showed the ability to make plays against the run and still be an effective pass rusher. Adding size and strength will benefit him as he is not very physical at the point of attack and avoids blockers rather than taking them on. Crosby showed promise against the run, but his immediate impact for the team will be as a pass rusher. 

At the end of the day, the biggest question for Crosby is how long it will take him to transition from the MAC to the NFL and based on what he has shown so far, the answer is soon.

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