During the 2016 NFL season, the Raiders as a franchise were on the rise, and looking to make some actual noise in the playoffs for the first time since the 2002 campaign. Led by a young quarterback in Derek Carr, and a punishing defensive player in Khalil Mack, the Raiders ran through the AFC, and had Carr not broken his leg on Christmas Eve, they could have made a run to the Super Bowl.
However, we all know how that played out, as Carr was never the same after the injury, and a few years later, Jon Gruden traded away Mack. But that 2016 season was special, and Mack was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year after playing in all 16 games, racking up 11 sacks, five forced fumbles, and an interception.
In 2023, the Raiders may not have the elite quarterback they had seven years ago, but they do have the defensive star that could be the best defensive player in the game. Maxx Crosby has blossomed into a legitimate star since coming into the league as a fourth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and is on the doorstep of earning the highest defensive honor in the NFL this season.
Here, we look at three reasons Crosby should be named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2023.