NFL

Is Maxx Crosby the Real Star of the Raiders’ Stellar 2019 NFL Draft?

This season, the Oakland Raiders had a lot of draft picks to work with. While they had a stellar draft overall, the best of the bunch may have been a little known defensive lineman out of the Mid-American Conference: Maxx Crosby. Could Crosby be the real star of the Raiders 2019 NFL draft? 

Maxx Crosby’s path to the NFL

Crosby played collegiately at Eastern Michigan of the Mid-American Conference. Here’s what he accomplished during his three seasons: 

  • 162 total tackles 
  • 41 tackles for a loss
  • 20 sacks 
  • One interception returned for a touchdown
  • Four passes defended
  • Four fumble recoveries
  • One fumble returned for a touchdown 
  • Eight forced fumbles

Eastern Michigan may not be a hotbed of college football, but Crosby was able to garner decent national attention for his stellar play there. NFL.com prepared a draft profile for Crosby, giving him a grade of 5.44 (potential to be an NFL backup or special teamer). Here was their scouting report on him: 

“Developmental, long-limbed defensive end who needs a year or two of bulking up before he’s ready to see the field. He’s long and flexible and will flash on tape as both a rusher and run defender, and those traits could outweigh his poor contact balance and play strength for some teams. If he grows into his gangly frame, Crosby offers a higher ceiling than some Day 3 prospects he could be lumped in with.” 

Here were Crosby’s combine totals: 

  • 4.66 seconds in the 40-yard dash
  • 36 inches in the vertical jump
  • 122 inches in the broad jump
  • 6.89 seconds on the three-cone drill
  • 4.13 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle
  • 11.35 seconds in the 60-yard shuttle

The book on Maxx Crosby was that he possessed some talent, but would represent something of a project for teams. The Raiders threw the book out the window.

The Oakland Raiders 2019 NFL Draft results

Of the many Raiders rookies contributing in 2019, Maxx Crosby may be the best.
Maxx Crosby tackles the Colts’ Parris Campbell. | Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Raiders underachieved last year, and with a relatively new head coach and GM in Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock, the team knew it had to rebuild through the draft before their move to Las Vegas in 2020. They attempted to do that with nine draft picks. The team selected Crosby with the 106th pick overall in the fourth round. Here’s a recap from OaklandRaiders.com of the team’s entire 2019 draft class: 

  • First round, (No. 4 overall): Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
  • First round (No. 24): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
  • First round (No. 27): Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
  • Second round (No. 40): Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
  • Fourth round (No. 106): Maxx Crosby, DE, Eastern Michigan
  • Fourth round (No. 129): Isaiah Johnson, CB, Houston
  • Fourth round (No. 137): Foster Moreau, TE, LSU
  • Fifth round (No. 149): Hunter Renfrow, WR, Clemson
  • Seventh round (No. 230): Quinton Bell, DE, Prairie View A&M

The Raiders’ site had this to say about the selection of Crosby: 

“Crosby filled up the record book during his time as an Eagle, and he finished his career with 20 sacks and 41 tackles for loss. He’ll be another fun toy for defensive coordinator Paul Guenther to employ to get after the quarterback.”

Maxx Crosby’s 2019 season so far

It turns out the experts who predicted Crosby as a backup or special teams contributor were just a bit off in their diagnosis. Crosby has been an absolutely dominant force for the Raiders. His breakout game came against an AFC opponent according to NBC Sports Bay Area

“In the Raiders’ Week 11 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, Crosby had his best game to date. He terrorized Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley all day long, totaling five tackles, four sacks, three tackles for loss, and a forced fumble in Oakland’s 17-10 win at the Coliseum. Crosby was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his effort.”

If Crosby can keep this up, the Raiders may have gotten a fourth-round steal and a force on their defensive line for years to come.