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Road to the Draft: Eastern Michigan's Jose Ramirez looking to follow in Maxx Crosby's footsteps to the pros


Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby has fans of his game all around, one specifically in draft prospect and fellow Eastern Michigan player Jose Ramirez.

The 6-foot-2, 251-pound defensive lineman is one of two Eastern Michigan players who received an invite to the Combine this year – the first time a player from EMU has been invited since Crosby attended in 2019.

Ramirez totaled 20.5 sacks, 33 tackles for loss and one fumble recovery across three seasons, and to finish out his tenure, was named Mid-American Conference's Defensive Player of the Year in 2022 after a breakout season. He is the first player from Eastern Michigan to earn the honor. He also set school records for most sacks in a single season (12.0, surpassing Crosby's and Avery Brown's 11.0) and most career sacks.

It comes as no surprise that he named Crosby as one of three pass rushers he admires, considering he has watched No. 98's journey from college film to blossoming in the NFL. He also named former Raider Khalil Mack and 12-year veteran Von Miller as two other players he emulates his game after.

The 23-year-old now hopes to carve his own path from prospect to pro, and has turned to his fellow Eastern Michigan Eagle for some tips.

"Maxx is probably one of my favorite players to watch just because he's so relentless," Ramirez said. "He can beat you this way, that way. When you watch Maxx, you see a great football player."

Ramirez and Crosby exchanged Instagram messages and texts, but eventually had the chance to meet in person when Ramirez attended the Shrine Bowl in Las Vegas in early February. Crosby stopped by a practice at Raiders HQ to lend his support to all the young players, taking extra time to chat with Ramirez about his game.

"Meeting him in person, you could feel that energy," he said with a smile. "One thing he told us was, 'Don't let anybody decide who you are.'"

The next night during the Shrine Bowl, Ramirez showed a similar strength to Crosby in the ability to take over a game. He finished the Feb. 2 contest with five tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a QB hurry.

"It was a blessing," he said of the week-long experience. "Being there with all the guys, being with the coaching staff. ... It felt like college all over again, trying a new experience and learning techniques and things like that.

"I'm hoping I proved that I could do it no matter what level. I'm a football player, at the end of the day."

Now in Indianapolis, Ramirez is heeding Crosby's advice, not taking any part of the process for granted and aiming to build upon what he's already shown to scouts through his college play. He noted he has met with multiple teams, including the Silver and Black.

"Just show people what I've got," the lineman said of what he hopes to achieve at the Combine.

"[I'm] a relentless player. A hard-working player. Somebody who's going to come get it every day no matter the circumstances," Ramirez added. "Somebody who loves not to have bad days. Somebody who's going to come in the building and get to work every day."

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Take a look back at current Raiders' appearances at past NFL Scouting Combines.

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