Undoubtedly the anchor of the Las Vegas Raiders’ defense, Maxx Crosby heads into the 2022 regular season having signed a contract extension earlier this year. The former Eastern Michigan Swoop carries some lofty expectations after being paired with newcomer Chandler Jones. On top of that, he’s been getting plenty of media hype. Most recently, Kyle Brandt of Good Morning Football made Crosby his pick for Defensive Player of the Year.
Will Maxx Crosby, a star for the Las Vegas Raiders, win the NFL’s most prestigious defensive award this year?
Brandt stated that he was picking someone with a potential breakout season, also pointing to Crosby as “kind of just hanging around in the NFL Top 100. He’s around in the ’50s somewhere.” The 2021 Pro Bowler had a noteworthy campaign last year, compiling an impressive stat sheet. Obviously, it was a major factor in climbing the list of the league’s top players. 105 pressures over the last three seasons, according to Pro Football Reference, is downright scary. The addition of Jones to the defensive line is going to create a matchup nightmare for offensive coordinators. Maybe Crosby can deliver on some of those pressures and pile up much-needed sacks. He hasn’t recorded double-digit sacks since his rookie year (10), so that’s something that’s going to be worth monitoring.
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You could argue that Brandt’s pick is a dark horse selection given the level of competition for that prestigious honor. Crosby is going up against the likes of T.J. Watt, Aaron Donald, and Micah Parsons. However, Crosby’s arguably in the best position of his career right now to win the award. There’s a two-time All-Pro lined up opposite of him that needs to be accounted for at all times and an interior defensive line capable of shutting down running lanes in the middle. Look for Crosby to excel in Patrick Graham’s scheme and quite possibly have a career year as the Raiders look to return to the postseason.
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