Raiders

Raiders rookie Maxx Crosby honored to be compared to 'legend' Ted Hendricks

Raiders rookie Maxx Crosby honored to be compared to 'legend' Ted Hendricks

Raiders general manager Mike Mayock had been following Maxx Crosby for months leading up to the NFL draft, with an eye on making him a mid-round selection.

Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden were giving Mark Davis a prospect briefing last month when the Eastern Michigan edge rusher’s film came on screen, and the Raiders owner instinctively made a lofty comparison.

“Right away, it’s, ‘Oh my God, that’s Ted Hendricks, that’s the ‘Mad Stork,’” Mayock said last week in an interview with SiriusXM radio. “You could almost (see it), with all the arms and legs, he’s so thin and so tall.”

Their builds are similar. Hendricks was a lanky 6-foot-7, 220 pounds of havoc creation. Crosby’s a bit thicker, standing 6-5, 255. Highlight reels show both guys causing chaos with long arms moving all over the place

The Mad Stork did most everything well for 15 NFL seasons, including nine with the Raiders, and was rightfully given a gold jacket. Crosby has done so against small-school competition, and is a fourth-round pick just getting started.

The comparison isn’t apples to apples in every sense, but Davis' link isn't out of left field. Any connection drawn between a rookie and a Pro Football Hall of Fame player can be daunting, but Crosby accepted it appropriately.

“It’s an honor. He’s a legend,” Crosby said last week. “It’s kind of crazy, just seeing all the feedback (since the draft). 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.”

Crosby was productive at Eastern Michigan, with 18.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles over his last two college seasons. There is some development Crosby desperately needs in order to provide pressure off the edge in the NFL.

“He plays every snap like his hair is on fire, that’s No. 1. No. 2, he has length. No. 3, he ran in the 4.6’s, low 4.6’s if I remember at 255 pounds and 6-foot-5. So he has some twitch,” Mayock said in a post-draft press conference. “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. When I got on the phone with him, I told him that his future was going to be dependent on a Gruden, but not the one he thought. It’s going to be [strength and conditioning assistant coach] Deuce [Gruden]. 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.”

While Crosby gained more than 40 pounds in college, the next stage of his physical development is more about power than considerable extra bulk. Gruden’s son Deuce is a world class powerlifter, and can help Crosby add the strength required to compete against NFL offensive tackles and tight ends.

“I’ve already talked to him a few times and the whole strength staff. I can’t wait to get after it,” Crosby said. “…They just want me to get stronger. 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.”

[RELATED: Why Raiders rookie Mullen believes Oakland is perfect fit]

Expectations won’t be as high for Crosby as for No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell. The Clemson product will ideally be a three-down player right away. Finding efficient production as a situational pass rusher would be a good start for Crosby. He’s a tremendous athlete the Raiders believe can develop into a productive pro.

“He’s ‘Mad Maxx,’” coach Jon Gruden said. “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.”

How Raiders' Nick Kwiatkoski showed his value with Bears last season

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USATSI

How Raiders' Nick Kwiatkoski showed his value with Bears last season

When opportunity knocked last year for Nick Kwiatkoski, the Chicago Bears’ four-year reserve linebacker, he answered.

With free agency looming, he was put in position to show the rest of the NFL what the Bears privately knew about the high-motor, highly athletic 26-year-old: It wasn’t a lack of ability that prevented Kwiatkoski from being a full-time starter, it was that the Bears had some of the best players in football at his position.

In Kwiatkoski, the Bears’ depth chart was hiding a starting caliber linebacker. And not just a situational one, but the highly coveted three-down kind who can play the run and the pass.

All of which he showed in an eight-game stint at the end of the 2019 season. He had 50 tackles, two sacks, four tackles for loss and four pass breakups to firmly establish himself as a valuable free agent target.

READ ABOUT KWIATKOSKI AT REVIEW-JOURNAL

 

Raiders' Zay Jones shares heartwarming story amid racial tensions

Raiders' Zay Jones shares heartwarming story amid racial tensions

The death of George Floyd while in police custody Monday in Minnesota has re-ignited racial tensions in this country.

Protests are occurring in cities all over the United States, and professional athletes are speaking up about their experiences.

On Saturday, Raiders wide receiver Zay Jones shared a heartwarming story on Twitter about an encounter he had with an woman at a home goods store.

That's powerful.

Jones, a Dallas, Texas native, was acquired by the Raiders in a trade with the Buffalo Bills last October.

In 10 games for the Raiders, Jones caught 20 passes for 147 yards.

[RELATED: Jones, Carr building chemistry]

But receiving this unnamed woman into his arms is the biggest catch of Jones' career.

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]