Big expectations for Raiders’ pass rusher
Going from a fourth-round pick to a Pro Bowler in just three seasons, Maxx Crosby has quickly established himself as a premier player for the Las Vegas Raiders.
Crosby has accumulated 25 career sacks which are the second-most in the 2019 draft class and just a half-sack behind the leader, Brian Burns. What makes Crosby’s production even more impressive is he’s the lowest-drafted player inside the Top 10, and Dre’Mont Jones — Denver Broncos’ third-round pick — is the only other player selected outside of round one.
Last season was the Eastern Michigan product’s “breakout year” as he gained national attention with the aforementioned All-Star appearance and 107 total pressures, the most among edges and 19 more than the second-place finisher, Nick Bosa, per PFF.
Pro Football Focus also graded-out Crosby as the second-best pass rusher among edge defenders in 2021 (91.9) and is expecting big things from him moving forward. Their lead NFL Analyst, Sam Monson, named the Raiders’ rusher a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
“Maxx Crosby had a true breakout 2021 season and led the NFL in pressures, becoming only the third player to post more than 100 in a [regular] season since 2006 (101). Crosby faced a very weak run of right tackles all season, but he still remained just as productive against better opposition. He now needs to show that wasn’t a flash in the pan,” Monson wrote.
Among the other “Tier 1” edges, according to Monson, are T.J Watt, Myles Garrett, Khalil Mack, Micah Parsons, and the Bosa brothers. That crew includes two DPOYs, three defensive rookies of the year awards and nine first-team All-Pro selections, so some pretty good company for Crosby to be in.
For those curious, Monson placed newly-signed edge rusher Chandler Jones in the “Tier 5: Declining Forces” category, citing Jones’ struggles against the run as the rationale.
In other Raiders’ links:
- Josh Jacobs ranked 10th-best RB: it’s rankings season and PFF has the Raiders’ back in the “Tier 4: Elusive Backs on Rookie Deals” category.
- Raiders get B- for 2021 draft class: PFF’s lead draft analyst Mike Renner regraded every team’s draft after year one and bumped the Silver and Black up a bit.
- Clelin Ferrell named breakout candidate: “New head coach Josh McDaniels has made it a point to say that Ferrell has a “clean slate.” It’ll also help if new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham uses Ferrell as more than a base defensive end like Gus Bradley did,” via Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton.
- Silver and Black proving grounds: the first five games and the end of the year will tell us all we need to know, according to our Ray Aspuria.