During the 2019 season, Maxx Crosby became one of the most exciting rookies in the NFL. The Las Vegas Raiders fourth-round pick finished the year with 10 sacks and was second in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting. 2020 was a completely different story.
The year didn’t get off to a bad start. Crosby had six sacks in the Raiders’ first nine games. However, he was almost shutout in the last seven games of the season as he only got one more sack. He still led the team with his seven total sacks but didn’t take a leap in year two like many were hoping.
While fans were disappointed with Crosby’s output, it’s now become clear why he struggled. He revealed on Wednesday night that he was dealing with numerous injuries all season, including a labrum tear and a broken metal plate in his hand.
Crosby proved his toughness last season when he played through a broken hand but he hit another level this season. 2020 may not have gone as planned for the Raiders but it’s clear that Crosby has a bright future with the team as long he can stay healthy. Had he not dealt with so many injuries, it’s possible he would’ve ended the year with 10 or more sacks.
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Crosby Played 2nd Most Snaps of Any DL in NFL
Not only did Crosby play through the pain, but he also played more snaps than any other Raiders defensive lineman with 898. In fact, he played the second-most snaps of any defensive lineman in the NFL behind J.J. Watt’s 1,009, per Josh Dubow.
Crosby loves to work so it’ll take a lot for him to miss time. Even when he tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the season, he was still putting in a lot of work. Time will tell if Crosby will develop into the elite pass rusher the Raiders were hoping he would. If he doesn’t, it won’t be for a lack of trying.
Crosby Should Be Key Player for Raiders Going Forward
Heading into the offseason, it’s clear the Raiders need to add a lot of pass rush help. They could look to bring in a couple of new defensive tackles and ends. If the team does invest heavily in defensive ends, that doesn’t really bode well for the returning players.
Clelin Ferrell would likely be hurt the most if the Raiders bring in defensive ends. If that happens, he’s going to get pushed to the interior of the defensive line a lot more often. Crosby has earned the right to be a consistent pass rusher for the Raiders. 17 sacks in two years is not a bad number at all. He’s a very good player and should keep getting better due to his work ethic.
It would be interesting to see what Crosby could do in a year where he doesn’t suffer any significant injuries. No, he’s probably not the second coming of J.J. Watt but he could be a Greg Townsend-type player for the Raiders. Considering they only invested a fourth-round pick into him, they would be ecstatic if he could play like Townsend. Interestingly enough, Townsend also only had seven sacks in his second year.