The Raiders’ first and last picks in the just-concluded NFL draft were defensive ends. With the fourth choice in the first round, they took Clelin Ferrell of Clemson. With pick No. 230, in Round 7, it was Quinton Bell of Prairie View A&M.
For a team with an acute need to bolster its pass rush, the Raiders hope Ferrell will be an instant-impact addition as an edge rusher. Bell, who converted from wide receiver to defensive end in his final year of college football, is a long shot to make the roster, but has athleticism that is worth a look.
In between Ferrell and Bell, the Raiders took perhaps their most intriguing prospect as a pass rusher, defensive end Maxx Crosby of Eastern Michigan. He was taken in the fourth round, No. 106 overall.
In just 24 starts at Eastern Michigan, Crosby had 20 sacks and 41 tackles for loss. Though he doesn’t come from a marquee program, Crosby has potential, and Luke Easterling of the Draft Wire called him the Raiders’ "biggest steal" of this draft.
At 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, Crosby has long arms and plays with energy and attitude, wrote Lance Zierlein of NFL.com. There are, however, concerns that he isn’t big enough and may need to add muscle if he wants to succeed in the NFL.
But Raiders GM Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden love Crosby and believe he can raise his game once he gets into the NFL. Mayock has even referred to him as "Mad Maxx."
In his call to Crosby to tell him he’d been drafted, Mayock told him, "Dude, I’ve been watching your tape all fall. I’ve been grabbing Gruden and yelling at him about Mad Maxx Crosby."
Detroit Lions defensive lineman Damon Harrison, too, has watched Crosby play and believes he’s a great pick for the Raiders. Tweeted Harrison after the Raiders selected Crosby: "Get stronger and this is THE sleeper in the draft. Literally won’t be able to be stopped once he adds strength."
Crosby had 7½ sacks in 2018 with 19 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles. In 2017, he had 11 sacks, 16½ tackles for loss and four forced fumbles.
At the NFL combine, Crosby showed off his athleticism, putting up great numbers for quickness and agility. He went in with an attitude that he wanted to impress. The Raiders bought it.
"Being from a small school and just being a little undersized in a lot of people’s eyes, for me going to the combine, I wanted to show up bigger, and showing them that I could move at the highest level, I felt like I did that," Crosby told the Detroit News.
Now, he wants to show he can make an impact and back up the faith Mayock and Gruden have shown in him.
"I get after the quarterback and I’m a game-changer, somebody that’s going to take the ball away from the offense," said Crosby. "I feel like I can consistently do that and I’m just ready to get out there and show them what I can do and prove them right."