One thing the Oakland Raiders have done an excellent job at throughout their history is finding underachieving players or players on the downside of their careers and turning them into contributors. It was true with players like Lyle Alzado years ago and it’s true today with players like Darren Waller and Richie Incognito.
Benson Mayowa is looking like he’s also among those players as he’s leading the team in sacks and has already set a career-high with seven through nine games. Mayowa has been on four different teams throughout his seven-year career, including an early stint with the Raiders. He never accumulated more than six sacks in an entire season before 2019. What’s also impressive about his sack numbers is that he has yet to start a game and plays significantly fewer snaps than other defensive ends on the roster. Mayowa is currently tied for 10th most sacks in the NFL.
The veteran is only under contract through the rest of this season, so things are bound to get interesting. The Raiders don’t seem to be sold on him as an every-down player, but he doesn’t need to be if he keeps putting up big sack totals. He’s definitely played his way into earning a contract extension and based on his recent Twitter activity, he seems to think so as well.
The latter tweet is interesting because he uses the eyes emoji. Typically when people use that emoji, it means that there could be something in the works. Mayowa will earn much more money next year than he has this year, but he’s not going to demand the same type of contract as some of the top pass rushers in the game. The Raiders should strike soon and lock him up before some desperate team throws a ton of money his way that Oakland isn’t willing to match.
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Clelin Ferrell’s Breakout Game
Mayowa wasn’t the only defensive end to have a big game versus the Los Angeles Chargers for the Raiders. Rookies Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby also terrorized Philip Rivers all game. Ferrell needed a big game as there were some who were already to write him off as a bust. He hadn’t gotten a sack since Week 1. Well, he shut up the doubters on Thursday with 2.5 sacks and eight tackles. It was the kind of game that could turn a season around for a struggling player. The Chargers don’t have an elite offensive line, but Ferrell did his job and brought consistent pressure.
Maxx Crosby Can’t Be Stopped
At this point, everybody is starting to know that Maxx Crosby is a special player. He’s been making plays all season and has improved each week. According to Next Gen Stats, Crosby pressured Philip Rivers 10 times during Thursday’s game, which is the most by a Raiders player since 2016.
Oakland could have something special brewing on the defensive line if Ferrell and Crosby keep getting better. Even when the team had Khalil Mack, there wasn’t a strong second option to help him. A strong, young duo on the defensive line could do wonders for the Raider defense of the future. The team’s defense has struggled for most of the year, but many of the starters a very young. Expect the unit to keep getting better and better.