Defensive end Maxx Crosby, one of Oakland’s three fourth-round picks, has drawn early comparisons to Raiders’ Hall of Famer Ted Hendricks.
A long torso with long arms and long legs. A whirling dervish with a chip on the shoulder and a motor that never stopped.
Yes, Davis, who has been around the Raiders since his late father Al came aboard in 1963, saw a little Mad Stork in the Eastern Michigan Eagle.
That would be Ted Hendricks, a Hall of Famer and three-time Super Bowl champion with the Raiders, whose physical attributes are similar to Crosby’s.
“Long, lanky, tall,” Davis told ESPN.com. “I remember being very excited about seeing him on film and wondering about the competition [he faced].
“But saying somebody is Ted Hendricks? That’s tough. I’ve always said, if I had one guy to start a team, it would probably be Ted Hendricks. Remember, until we got Ted, we couldn’t get over the hump in conference championship games. We got him in 1975 and then we broke through that wall. He’s one of just [six] players to play on all three [Raiders] Super Bowl champs. Ted dominated one whole side of the field.”
Davis took a breath, fast-forwarded from the late 1970s and early ’80s to last month’s NFL draft, in which the Raiders used their first of three fourth-round draft picks, No. 106 overall, on Crosby, and then exhaled.
“On tape, he does look good,” Davis said. “I just wondered about the competition.”
Crosby played defensive end in the the Mid-American Conference at Eastern Michigan and received only one scholarship offer out of high school. He has gone from Ypsilanti to being a third-day draft pick and comparisons to a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
No pressure, kid. None at all.
“It’s an honor,” Crosby said at the start of the Raiders’ rookie minicamp. “He’s a legend. It’s kind of crazy just seeing all the feedback. It’s been mostly positive and fans here in Oakland are die-hards. It’s an honor to be here, to play for such a legendary organization and I can’t wait to go put it out on the field.”
Absolutely, can’t wait to meet you! https://t.co/UU9ukkHmDV
— Madd Maxx Crosby (@CrosbyMaxx) May 10, 2019
Even Hendricks reached out on Twitter to welcome Crosby to the Raiders.
Still, Hendricks was more of a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end at 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, while the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Crosby is a pure defensive end.
Crosby racked up 18.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles during his final two college seasons and addresses a specific need for a Raiders team that had a league-low 13 sacks last season.
So long as he adds some bulk to his long frame.
“He plays every snap like his hair is on fire, that’s No. 1,” said general manager Mike Mayock, who first told of Davis comparing Crosby and Hendricks in a Sirius XM radio interview. “No. 2, he has length. No. 3, he ran in the 4.6’s, low 4.6’s — so he has some twitch. He has length, he has twitch. He has a great motor. What he doesn’t have yet is power. He doesn’t have strength yet, and he needs to develop that.”
Introducing, then, Raiders strength and conditioning assistant and world class power lifter Deuce Gruden. Yes, coach Jon Gruden’s son.
“When I got on the phone with [Crosby], I told him that his future was going to be dependent on a Gruden, but not the one he thought,” Mayock said. “It’s going to be Deuce. I wanted him to get philosophically connected at the hip with Deuce because he has to get stronger. But I love his tape because he plays his ass off on every play.”
Crosby needs more than fast hands.
— Coach Brandon Jordan (@CoachBTJordan) April 30, 2019
“They just want me to get stronger,” he said of the Raiders. “I don’t think weight is the biggest issue. I’m around 255 right now. I just have to keep getting stronger and I have all summer to do that. I’m going to do everything I can to make that happen.”
Crosby is one of three defensive ends the Raiders drafted, along with No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell and seventh-rounder Quinton Bell, who made the unusual switch from wide receiver to edge rusher as a college senior.
He is also one of six defensive players in the Raiders’ nine-player draft class.
Yeah, there was a need. More than few holes for Oakland to fill.
“He’s ‘Mad Maxx,'” Jon Gruden said with a snarl. “He comes off the ball repeatedly with great effort. I like that relentless style he plays with. He’s gotten bigger and stronger every year that he’s played and some of his second effort production is what stands out the most, but he really tested well at the combine.
“He’s got real big upside and I think he’s got a real big role model to learn from in our first-round pick [Ferrell].”
Crosby and Ferrell hit it off at the combine and reunited in Oakland.
“I’ve played in a 4-2-5 and [the Raiders] run a 4-3, so it’s kind of similar, but new techniques and all that, it’s going to take a little bit of time to just get adjusted and get the movements down,” Crosby said.
“It’s still football at the end of the day and we’re playing defensive end. We’re supposed to get sacks. That’s why they pay us, so I just have to get after the quarterback, and the same with everybody else on the D-line.”
Now that sounds like something Hendricks might say, and Davis would approve of going forward.