Where there’s smoke, there’s fire and there’s been a lot of smoke surrounding Oakland Raiders rookie defensive end Maxx Crosby. Luckily, it’s been good smoke as Crosby has been getting praise left and right to start training camp. The 6’5 255-pound defender from Eastern Michigan has the athletic traits of a man much smaller. He ran a 4.66 40-yard dash at the combine, which is crazy for a man of his size. That being said, he’s still raw and is going to need time to adapt his skillset and strength to the NFL game. Even though he still has work to do, head coach Jon Gruden has already begun to sing his praise.
Jon Gruden Thinks Maxx Crosby Could Lead the League in Effort
If Gruden’s words are any indication of what to expect from Crosby, the Raiders could have a serious steal on their hands. He had the chance to talk about the rookie to the media after Tuesday’s practice.
“His pursuit to the football has been incredible,” said Gruden. “He’s got a ways to go yet as a pass rusher, developing an inventory of moves and recognizing plays and situations. He might lead the league in effort, and that’s a hell of a compliment.”
Considering the Raiders have high effort guys like Antonio Brown and Derek Carr on the roster, that’s a serious statement made by Gruden. Effort doesn’t always turn into results, but Crosby has got the athleticism to back it up. It will probably take some time for him to hone his craft, but he’s off to a good start. “Madd” Maxx will have his work cut out for him if he’s going to try and win a starting spot on the Raiders defensive line. It’s probably still too early to say that he’s a favorite to start. Gruden loves players that work hard, so Crosby has that working in his favor. Who starts on the defensive line probably won’t be known until the start of the regular season.
Follow the Heavy Oakland Raiders page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Defensive Line Starters Not Set
It makes sense that the Raiders defensive line would still not have an obvious starting lineup after last year’s performance. The unit was completely ineffective in 2018. Notable returners to the unit are Justin Ellis, P.J. Hall, Johnathan Hankins, Arden Key and Maurice Hurst. Out of all those players, Hurst has shown the most promise. With that said, Johnathan Hankins has been impressing Gruden.
It would be a huge surprise if Hankins were to be a starter, but crazier things have happened. Clelin Ferrell has also gotten positive early reviews at training camp. Being the fourth overall pick in the draft, Ferrell should have a really good shot to start. However, with Gruden, nothing is given, it has to be earned. One name that hasn’t really come up very much is Arden Key. Key started 10 games for the Raiders in 2018 and was only able to muster one sack. He’s another high upside guy, but he’s really going to need to start standing out if he’s going to keep his starting job. P.J. Hall is one more guy that needs to start making plays. He was the team’s second-round pick in 2018 and hasn’t really done much since. With such fierce competition at every position along the defensive line, it’s anybody’s guess who’s going to start come week one.