What a season for the fourth-rounder out of Eastern Michigan “Mad Maxx” Crosby (please stop calling him “The Condor”).
Despite not starting until Week 5, Crosby outproduced No. 2 overall pick Nick Bosa numbers-wise posting 10 sacks which ranked second-most among rookies and second all-time among rookies in franchise history.
That, of course, does not mean that Crosby was better than either Bosa or Mack (as the advanced stats show), but as a fourth-round pick who was considered by many to be a project, the fact that he is comparable is extremely impressive.
When Crosby was drafted, the first thing Gruden asked him is if he knows that he needs to pack on muscle and fill out his frame. This shows that even the coaching staff probably didn’t think he would be completely ready as a rookie.
But he was.
That is not to say he doesn’t still need to add strength — he definitely does and his ability to hold the edge at the point of attack suffers from it.
The point is, Crosby is way ahead of schedule in his career development. It’s not common that a rookie edge rusher puts up 10+ sacks.
It isn’t common for any player to consistently do that throughout their career.
His motor is always brought up when people talk about his success, and he does have a motor no less relentless than anybody. But I feel mentioning that as the reason he has been successful is doing his game a disservice.
Crosby was one of the most athletic edge rushers in the 2019 NFL Draft, and he already had adequate arm usage and a couple of refined pass rush moves coming out.
The fact that he was considered a project by many is sort of baffling to me when you consider that, and a lot of college and NFL fans who follow the draft closely are not surprised by his early success.
Even if you aren’t surprised by his success, no one would have guessed he would put up the numbers he did, as the rookie pass rusher is already the best player on the Raiders defense, and should project to be one of the better defensive ends in the entire league going forward.