Watching Maxx Crosby hunt quarterbacks is like a watching a bird of prey, soaring high above, circling its dinner.
At the NFL Scouting Combine in 2019, Maxx Crosby measured a wingspan of 81 inches and in his rookie campaign he used that length to leverage his opponents at the line of scrimmage and engulf signal callers in his wings.
It also inspired NFL analyst Brian Baldinger to nickname the Raiders defensive end "The Condor."
It's hard to conceive now, but for a long time, Crosby's length was viewed as a hinderance, not as a positive. Analysts reported his body was underdeveloped, was all arms and legs – which honestly made me laugh when I read that – and noted his slow movements because of his size. The overall analysis? "[Crosby] needs a year or two of bulking up before he's ready to see the field."
Baldinger was among the first to see these knocks against Crosby and understand them as his strength. On Monday morning, Baldinger tweeted a 10-minute clip highlighting all of Crosby's best plays from the season, and broke down every snap, including a key forced fumble in Indianapolis.
"Here's Maxx Crosby doubling from the backside down the field to get those long arms and get the ball out, stripping it!" Baldinger said in astonishment. "His first forced fumble of the season, in his fourth game of the season. There it is, the birth of a condor."
It was plays like this that vaulted the fourth-round pick into the Rookie Defensive Player of the Year debate. While he didn't take home the hardware, he accomplished a lot in his first NFL season and outperformed his combine label grade of "backup/special teams player" by a landslide.
Understandably, Crosby garnered a lot of attention towards the end of the season, and people have wanted to meet the newest Las Vegas Raiders star in person. During Super Bowl week in Miami, Crosby took time to meet with Special Olympics athletes on Radio Row, a unique moment for him.
He's also getting used to his new home in Las Vegas. On Sunday, Crosby posted a photo of him and reigning UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at T-Mobile Arena, taking in the UFC fight that took place over the weekend.
Take a look back at the best photos of DE Maxx Crosby from his rookie season with the Silver and Black.