The Colts Prospect Interviews are still going strong after the Combine this last week. Today’s player interview is Eastern Michigan DE Maxx Crosby. The Colts are looking for talented pass rushers and Crosby fits the bill. The interview will be towards the bottom of the page as we talk about his impressive set of pass rush moves, what makes a great pass rusher, and what it would be like to play with Darius Leonard.
6’4” 255 pounds
40 Time: 4.66 / 10-yard split: 1.61 / Vertical Jump: 36 inches / Broad Jump: 122 inches / 3-Cone: 6.89 seconds
162 total tackles, 41 tackles for a loss, 20 sacks, 4 pass deflections, and 8 forced fumbles
Fit with the Colts:
GM Chris Ballard has mentioned multiple times this offseason that the Colts need pass rushers. Rookies Kemoko Turay and Tyquan Lewis were solid in their rookie seasons but the team needs more talented rushers to upgrade the defensive line. If the Colts make a big splash in free agency, adding Crosby in the mid-rounds would also be a wise investment. Crosby has excellent tape where he shows a vast array of pass rush moves. Combine that with a near elite combine and he is a high upside pass rusher who has a ton of room to grow. As a sub-rushing defensive end, he would thrive in the Colts’ scheme.
The number one thing we talk about as evaluators is bend in pass rushers. Crosby has some pretty incredible bend in his game.
How much Alignment Freedom do you give your DE’s in Pass Rush Situations?— Coach Dan Casey (@CoachDanCasey) February 8, 2019
9️⃣Eastern Michigan DE Maxx Crosby rushing from a Tilted Wide 9
I love the get off and the angle he’s able to get from this Stance + Alignment! pic.twitter.com/7riDfDGpDl
He is also quick enough to run around tackles while also being strong enough to fight through blockers en route to the QB.
Maxx Crosby (@CrosbyMaxx) sells the upfield rush, counters inside with a jab step/club/arm over & beats THREE blockers for the strip/sack.— DLineVids (@DLineVids) November 4, 2018
6.5 sacks/14.5 TFL/4 FF in nine games this season! pic.twitter.com/Wy8sW9RxjG
Long arms with power behind his punch. Crosby is a sack artist going into this draft.
Who has more sacks in the MAC in 2018? Northern Illinois’ Sutton Smith or Eastern Michigan’s Maxx Crosby?!— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) July 26, 2018
Last year, Crosby 11... Smith 14... pic.twitter.com/21X6qsHJbp
ZH: So how does a legit NFL prospect like you end up at a small school like Eastern Michigan?
MC: So out of high school, I only had one division one offer and one offer in total. Coming out of high school, my first three years I was playing middle linebacker and I hit a big growth spurt going into my Senior year. So we got a brand new coaching staff and obviously I wasn’t going to play middle linebacker anymore so my coach moved me to D-End and wanted me to play a little bit of tight end and the rest of history.
ZH: Explain to me what the SAS points were with your defensive line coach at EMU. I’ve read a little bit about it and it sounds like a pretty cool tradition.
MC: Oh I can’t tell you. That stays in the defensive line room.
ZH: (Laughs) Fair enough. Can you at least describe to me the award that was given out each week by your defensive line coach?
MC: Yeah it was this little grim reaper, little like figure, and he was put in front of the room and it went to the player who played the nastiest that week and we would all grade it as the dline as we went over the film and everyone would get points after every play, either a half a point or a full point. Whoever ended up with the most points at the end of each game would get the little statue for the whole week. It was awesome.
ZH: After posting 18.5 sacks the last two seasons for EMU, you declared for the draft. What went into that decision to declare early?
MC: It wasn’t an easy decision. I had a lot of hard talks and really good talks with my family and coaches and really had to figure out what was best for me. At the end of the day, it wasn’t easy but I felt as if I was ready to take the next step and that is why I ended up declaring.
ZH: You really turned some heads at the combine with your athleticism. How was the whole combine experience for you?
MC: It was awesome. It was four and a half days of just constant medicals and all types of interviews and just getting the exposure that I’ve always wanted and it was a really good experience. I loved it but it wasn’t easy at all, it was late nights and early mornings but you are only there for four and a half days so you just gotta soak it up and do everything you can to make the best impression.
ZH: Going to your tape, your hand usage is pretty great. You have a wide array of moves. Is that something you constantly work on or just an area you’ve been good in your whole life?
MC: No, so in high school, my senior year was my first year playing dline so you know playing middle linebacker you aren’t really using hands like that. It was something that I was already behind in that aspect and just trying to figure out the position. I’ve just been working super hard in the offseason, putting in all the extra work I needed to get to the level where I thought I could reach and yeah I’ve just been working super hard to get here.
ZH: What is your go-to pass rush move while we are on the topic?
MC: I would probably say my double sweep and rip. Yeah that’s my go-to but there is a few others but that is definitely the number one that comes to my head.
ZH: What is the key in your mind to being a great pass rusher? Like what has made you so dominant these past two seasons?
MC: Yeah there’s a lot of things that go into it. Play recognition, hand usage, effort, finishing plays— you can get around the QB a bunch and not finish and you’ll never get the recognition even though you are beating tackles. You know its completing the pass rush, finishing off the QB and all that is a huge part of getting the numbers and all that type of stuff. Just being relentless and always having constant effort and being around the ball is super important when getting the sacks.
ZH: What area of your game do you think you need to improve most?
MC: My technique definitely needs some tightening up. My footwork in the run game. In college I got a lot of freedom and I kind of got carried away at times trying to do to much and make too many plays. Just tightening up my technique though is the main thing that comes to my mind. I just gotta keep getting stronger, keep working on that and doing everything I can to be the best DE/ OLB I can be.
ZH: Who in the NFL do you compare yourself to most/ model your game after?
MC: I wouldn’t say there is one specific guy that I try to like be like or anything. I watch a ton of film on NFL guys and the one guy I’d say— from a young age I’ve always been a huge fan of and tried to emulate some of the things he did— is JJ Watt. I love JJ Watt. I also like Chandler Jones and Joey Bosa a ton too. Watching those guys’ film and seeing how consistently they get to the quarterback and cause disruption in the backfield is definitely helpful in watching their film.
ZH: Which NFL quarterback do you want to sack most once you get into the league?
MC: (Laughs) So I’ve been asked that question and everybody says Tom Brady and that is what I initially answered but now.... I’d definitely say Brady is one of them but I think Patrick Mahomes would be another guy I want to get after just because he’s so talented and such a special quarterback. I would love to try take him to the ground as well.
ZH: Last question for you. The Colts have preached the need for pass rushers all offseason. They have talented young players like Darius Leonard and Malik Hooker but need more of a pass rush. Do you think that you could step in and fill that need for them on that defense?
MC: Absolutely. I hope they dig deeper in the film and recognize what I can do and bring to the table. I would love to get a chance to come to a team who obviously needs pass rushers and I think I’m a guy who a lot of people overlook and I could really come in there and make a difference right off the bat.
ZH: How fun would it be to play with two players like Darius Leonard and Malik Hooker?
MC: That would be awesome. Obviously Darius Leonard came from an FCS school and you see him having great success. Some people.. Actually I saw this article when I was browsing the internet, that somebody said after they drafted him that it was like the worst pick in the draft and he ended up being an absolute animal. I keep that in the back of my head just going through this process, all the noise and outside stuff that people say you just gotta take with a grain of salt and remember why you are here. For me, it would be amazing to play with Malik Hooker, Margus Hunt, all those guys and go out there and show what I can do.