In a season where the Raiders defense has had its share of struggles, Maxx Crosby is in reach of a rookie franchise record.
Prior to the start of the 2018 NFL season, the Oakland Raiders traded away star pass rusher Khalil Mack, a generational talent who was an absolute monster off the edge. It became evident that Mack did not want to play for Jon Gruden, and the team made a move to get two first round picks from the Chicago Bears in exchange for his services.
Without Mack coming off the edge for the Silver and Black, the Raiders were atrocious at getting after the quarterback, racking up only 13 sacks. To put that in perspective, Mack had 12.5 sacks by himself, and the second-worst sack defense, the Miami Dolphins, had 32.
Heading into the 2019 NFL Draft, the Raiders knew they needed to do something to address this, and they did so by selecting Clelin Ferrell from Clemson with the No. 4 overall pick. While Ferrell has come on as of late, it has been the team’s fourth-round pick, Maxx Crosby who has done the most damage as a rookie, and he is on the brink of history.
"“He plays every snap like his hair is on fire,” Mayock told reporters after the draft when speaking about Crosby. “He’s got length. He’s got twitch. He’s got a great motor. What he doesn’t have yet is power and he needs to develop that.”"
In 2019, Crosby has posted 8.5 sacks, 41 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 13 quarterback hits, 3 forced fumbles and 3 passes defensed throughout his rookie season. Now entering the final game of his rookie campaign, Crosby is just two sacks shy of setting the Raiders rookie record of 10.5 sacks set by Greg Townsend in 1983 and Anthony Smith in 1991.
Oakland will head to Denver in week 17 where Crosby has the opportunity to place himself in the record books. The Raiders met the Broncos in week one where Oakland generated three sacks in the season opener, although, Crosby failed to record any of the three.
In fact, Crosby didn’t record a sack until his fifth game of the season against the Bears, but since then he’s became a huge force for the Oakland defensive line. In week 11, Crosby became the fourth rookie in NFL history to record four sacks in a single game.
Crosby has one final shot at obtaining the rookie record on Sunday, and his odds may have increased after the final injury report was released. According to the Friday injury report, Denver’s starting right tackle Ja’Wuan James and starting right guard Ron Leary have both been ruled out for Sunday’s week 17 game.
Crosby is a player to watch as the Raiders head to Denver while being in the mix for a potential playoff berth.