When General Manager Mike Mayock accepted his position nearly a year ago, the Oakland Raiders knew they were getting someone overly dedicated to the prospect evaluation process – it's what fuels him.
For years, Mayock was the key cog for NFL Network when it came to all things NFL Draft, and his wealth of knowledge has paired perfectly with Head Coach Jon Gruden's mentality and what they want to accomplish. So far, the 2019 season has been the year of the rookie for the Silver and Black. From undrafted free agent Alec Ingold to Foster Moreau, the 2019 rookie class has outperformed expectations and will hopefully serve as the foundation for years to come.
From the first round to the seventh round, the rookies have been a major contributing factor to the team's success this year, most notably Josh Jacobs and Maxx Crosby.
Following the conclusion of the 2018 campaign, it was apparent the Raiders needed to add dynamic playmakers on offense and defense, and they addressed those needs with the addition of Jacobs and Crosby. In Week 13, Jacobs became the first rookie in Raiders history to rush for 1,000 yards, and he only needed 12 games to do it. Crosby has 7.5 sacks to his name, been named AFC Defensive Player of the Week, and has become a main fixture along defensive coordinator Paul Guenther's defensive line.
As the season has progressed, the media has taken notice of the Raiders' rookie class, and even with four weeks to go many analysts believe this is the undisputed top class this season. NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah is one of the most well-respected draft gurus in the business, and he recently released his updated rookie rankings, which featured Jacobs and Crosby.
In his latest edition, the former University of Alabama running back has made his way into the top two rookies, ranking second just behind San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa. With four games to go, Jacobs has risen two spots since Jeremiah's second-quarter rankings were released. He's currently the fourth-leading rusher in the NFL with 1,061 yards and his seven touchdowns ties him for fifth in the league among all running backs. While some people will make the argument for other players, there's not a rookie more deserving of the Offensive Rookie of the Year award than Josh Jacobs.
On the other side of the ball, Maxx Crosby has brought relentless pressure since earning more playing time. The former Eastern Michigan Eagle got his first start Week 5, which just so happens to be the game he registered his first career sack. Since then, Crosby has only continued to improve, amassing 7.5 sacks in eight games. Over his last eight games, Crosby is averaging 87.5 percent of the snaps per game, which is substantially more than the 39.75 percent of snaps he averaged over the first quarter of the year. The coaching staff has clearly found the best way to maximize Crosby's potential, and it has caused him to rise 18 spots in Daniel Jeremiah's rookie rankings. The 22-year-old defensive lineman was ranked 23rd, but now sits fifth behind Bosa, Jacobs, Josh Allen, and Devin Bush.
With four games left to play it's exciting to think about what else the duo of Jacobs and Crosby can add to their rookie resume.
If you'd like to view the top 25 rookies according to Daniel Jeremiah, click here.