Mike Mayock has received much-deserved praise for his first year as Raiders general manager.
Mayock helped rebuild the foundation of the franchise with a terrific class of drafted and free-agent rookies, while also bringing in high-impact veterans such as Trent Brown and Richie Incognito.
One of Mayock’s biggest successes was drafting defensive end Maxx Crosby out of Eastern Michigan in the fourth round. Crosby exceeded all expectations by getting 10 sacks and forcing four fumbles, even after being injured in training camp.
Mayock, however, dismisses any notion it was a genius pick.
When asked recently if he expected Crosby to come in and immediately become a force on the defensive line, he said, "No."
Mayock said he expected Crosby to compete and work hard, because that’s his history. He also expected him to add some juice to the defense with his personality because he’s "the Energizer Bunny" and is athletic with a high motor and is flexible and strong.
But what he didn’t expect was for Crosby to add so much strength through weight work – 10 or 12 pounds – and make himself better through that program and improved nutrition.
"Everything he did was the right thing and, you know, every week he got better," Mayock told Eddie Paskal of Raiders.com. "You know, he listens to coaching. He puts weight on. He comes out and more than anything though, he plays every week and every day like his hair’s on fire. So, did he exceed our expectations Year One? Absolutely. And I think the challenge for him and the rest of the rookies is to take a big step in Year Two."
Over 16 games, Crosby was in on 46 tackles, including 16 for loss. He had 14 quarterback hits and four batted passes as well as the 10 sacks.
After the season, Crosby told reporters he’s encouraged by what he learned in 2019 and seeing how his fellow rookies made such big strides, even if the Raiders had a bad stretch at the end of the season to finish 7-9 and just miss a playoff spot.
"I feel like we are off to a good start, but we have a ton of room to grow," Crosby said. "We have a bunch of guys who love football and we are trying to grow. It didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to, but we are working for it."