Maxx Crosby had one hell of a year. From an under looked prospect, to becoming a possible Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate, Crosby gave Raider Nation a lot to be excited about in the future.
Maxx Crosby Surpassed Expectations
Crosby was selected by the Raiders with their fourth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and even though he looked like a nice pick at the time, nobody expected a level of production close to what he gave this past season. There were concerns about his lack of athleticism, and some were worried it would affect him in the NFL. He definitely needed some time to adjust to the NFL, but it didn’t take long. He made his first start in Week five, and that kickstarted a fantastic rookie season, one that included 10 sacks, four forced fumbles, 16 tackles for a loss, 46 total tackles, and four passes defensed. Those are monster numbers for a rookie. The fears of his athletic ability failing to show at the pro game have been silenced as Crosby has shown he’s capable enough to out-maneuver offensive linemen, and he’s great at cutting inside to help collapse the pocket.
Crosby went from a fourth-round pick nobody had heard of from Eastern Michigan, to a rookie of the year candidate with 10 sacks in his first season. He showed a ton of promise, and is undoubtedly one of the best building blocks this young roster possess.
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Room For Growth
With all that said, there is still room for growth and Maxx can become an even better player. One way he can improve is by becoming a better tackler. His 26 solo tackles were tied for 39th among all edge defenders, and he struggles to make open field tackles on ball carriers sometimes.
These adjustments can be fixed though, and I believe it’s just going to take some time. Crosby went from tackling ballcariers playing in the MAC, to runners the NFL in a pretty short amount of time, so obviously that’s gonna be a bit of a shock. He improved in many ways as the season went on, and as he gets more experience in the future he should become a better tackler as well.
A look at the numbers
Let’s take a look at a few advanced stats to see where Crosby lies amongst his competition. Pro Football Focus registered Crosby with a pass rushing grade of 67.3. To put that into perspective, he had the same grade as Bradley Chubb, and had a better grade than Frank Clark (KC, 65.2), Chase Winovich, (NE, 65.8), Michael Bennet, (DAL, 62) and Clay Matthews (LAR, 63.4). These are very impressive numbers for a rookie.
PFF was harsher on Crosby when it came to his run defense, giving him a 58.9 grade. When comparing it to other edge defenders, it doesn’t look as bad as he was given a higher grade than Dee Ford, Clay Matthews, Bradley Chubb, and Yannick Ngakoue. Still, pretty impressive. As I mentioned earlier, I expect Crosby to become a better tackler as his career progresses as well.
Ultimately, Maxx Crosby had a very impressive rookie year. It was better than anybody expected. Nick Bosa deservedly won DROY over Crosby, but the fact that Crosby has been a godsend to the Raiders’ pass rush, and that he is a key building block for this team, is undeniable.
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