Before the Las Vegas Raiders drafted Defensive Rookie of the Year runner-up Maxx Crosby last year, not much was expected from the defensive end, but general manager Mike Mayock knew otherwise.
Although some thought Maxx Crosby was a sleeper from the moment he was selected, it wasn’t a general consensus as fourth-round picks are either marginal players or take time to develop. Also, he didn’t have the prototypical body frame to play the position. In spite of all that, Crosby thrived and Mayock explained why when he talked to the press at the 2020 Scouting Combine yesterday:
What was crazy about Maxx last year is he came in and I forget, I mean, I lectured him on getting with Deuce Gruden and working out. From a nutrition perspective and a weight perspective it’s rare to see a kid gain 15 pounds his rookie year. He came in at plus or minus 250 and he was playing 265 late in the season. That’s a huge difference with absolute no problem with the movement skills, so he got bigger, he got stronger, he kept the same movement skills.
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Crosby’s rookie curve was on par with his bulk increase as he only had two sacks in the Raiders first eight games in 2019, but took the quarterback down 7.5 times in the second half of the season.
Mayock also talked about Crosby’s attributes that caught his attention while watching tape:
What we loved about him on tape is what you saw this year, which is just a relentless pursuit during every snap. So, we put the tape on him [from] Eastern Michigan and to be really honest, he didn’t have much of an idea of what he was doing, he didn’t know how he was doing it, but I saw this long kid that bent, could bend like Gumby and understand, when you’re his size the ability to bend is rare. He could bend, he had length, he had effort, he had [a] motor.
Not every draft pick pans out and it remains to be seen whether Crosby set a new standard or is anomaly, but it’s clear Mayock knew what he was doing and he trusts his evaluation process.
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