Eastern Michigan pass rusher Maxx Crosby will hear his name called in the 2019 NFL Draft, but he opens up about the process, NFL Combine and more on his way to that.
Now that the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine is in the rear view, we are just some pro days and team visits away from the day everyone has been waiting for: the 2019 NFL Draft. As always, the combine served its purpose to either reaffirm what we already knew or force evaluators to go back to the tape for a second opinion.
One player scouts will certainly be taking a first, second or possibly even third look at is Eastern Michigan’s All-MAC defensive end Maxx Crosby. After an exceptional two-season run, Crosby decided to forego his final season of eligibility at Eastern Michigan for a chance to play in the NFL. With the Combine and his pro day in the books, he has plenty of team interviews and workouts scheduled before he hears his name called on draft day.
In between all the chaos of NFL Draft season, he was nice enough to take some time to speak to me about his career accomplishments, draft season/preparation and his future outlook. Take a deep dive below into the journey of Eastern Michigan edge defender Maxx Crosby.
Ryan Roberts: Maxx, as you take a second to look back at what you were able to accomplish at Eastern Michigan, what are some things you are most proud of during your time while at the university?
Maxx Crosby: One thing that stands out about my time at Eastern is at one point we were 2-10. We were 1-11 my redshirt year. I came to Eastern, them being my only offer, with the goal that we were going to be the class that turned everything around. After my redshirt freshman year, we were able to make two bowl games in my final two years. We hadn’t gone to a bowl game in over 25 years.
That was the most special thing to me. It didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but just putting our imprint on the program and turning it into a winner, that was the biggest thing for me. It was special being apart of that.
RR: How successful do you believe the program will be moving forward and continuing that success?
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MC: Well, you know, it starts with the coaching staff and they’ve completely changed around the culture. We’re just a big family. We love each other and we play for each other. That’s just the biggest thing. We did lose a lot on the defensive side but we have guys who are ready to step up. Offensively, we have tons of talent and I expect them to do great things over there.
RR: How difficult was your decision to leave Eastern Michigan with a year of eligibility remaining?
MC: It wasn’t easy at all. I had a lot of talks with my family and all those closest to me, my coaches, and I told them I think it is the right time for me to take the next step in my career. I’m super excited for what the future holds.
RR: Leading up to the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, some people were questioning how good of an athlete you are. Were you happy with your overall performance at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine?
MC: Believe it or not, I saw people showing doubts about my athleticism. It’s hard not to see. It’s just another chip on my shoulder. I went into the combine hoping that I could even do a little better because I wanted to show people on a national stage that I am a great athlete. And honestly, I was a little shocked that so many people questioned my athleticism. I just use it as motivation. I knew I was going to test really well. At the end of the day, I just had to go out there and perform and I felt that I did that.
RR: How did you feel the rest of the workout went? How was the field workout session for you?
MC: All of the testing drills like the 3-cone, vertical — I hit a lot of personal bests and I was super happy with that. As far as the field work, I thought it could have been a little bit cleaner, but there is always room for improvement. Everything isn’t going to go perfect. I am my hardest critic so I definitely could have done a little bit better on the field work. I’m going to do some more field work at my pro day tomorrow* and I’m super excited to get back out there and play some football.
RR: We all hear stories of strange questions asked at the combine. What’s the weirdest question you were asked at the event?
MC: [Chuckles] A ton of people ask that question. No, I really didn’t get asked anything crazy. They get really personal and they want to see how you react to certain things, see if you’re honest and all that. But I don’t really hear any off of the wall, crazy questions.
RR: Was it surreal meeting any NFL coaches for the first time?
MC: For sure. I definitely had a couple moments like that. I met John Lynch, which was awesome. He was a great guy. I also met Mike Vrabel. Growing up an Ohio State fan, watching him and then on the Patriots, that was really cool. David Tyree, who made the best catch in Super Bowl history, I met him. I met a bunch of guys like that.
It’s crazy, you know, seeing them on TV all the time then finally getting to see them in person, and they are just like anybody else. They’re normal people at the end of the day. Everybody was super cool and it was just an awesome experience being able to meet all those guys who I grew up watching.
RR: For listeners who haven’t seen you play, what do you consider to be your biggest strengths on the field?
MC: The first thing is I am relentless. On the field, I am playing 100 miles per hour at all times. I am always around the ball. I know how to get to the quarterback in multiple ways. There are people who say I don’t have bend and I don’t have a great get-off, all types of stuff like that, but at the end of the day I know how to get after the quarterback. I get the ball out. I am a game changer and I am constantly stepping up in big moments.
RR: Who are some players, either past or present, that you model your game after?
MC: Yeah, there are a ton of players I have watched, get little tips and take little things from their game and try to put it onto the field for myself. I love watching J.J. Watt. I love how he just changes it up, constantly disrupting in the backfield and getting after the quarterback. A little bit of a throwback player — well not much of a throwback — but I love watching Jared Allen. He was constantly around the quarterback, just causing disruption.
I love Chandler Jones as well. He’s a longer guy, 6-5 and 270 pounds, he’s a stud. He’s not really a speed rusher but he has all the different types of tools and different moves in his repertoire to get after the quarterback.
Those three guys have been super helpful to me watching their film. Joey Bosa is another one I love watching. There’s a ton, but those are probably the main guys that I pay attention to.
RR: As you transition to the next level, have you seen most interest from 4-3 teams as a defensive end or 3-4 teams as an outside linebacker? What position do you think your translate best to?
MC: I actually met and talked with a lot of 3-4 teams. I am willing to play whatever, and I am comfortable standing up as well. I’m down to do whatever my coaches ask but I did talk to both 3-4 and 4-3 teams, and I’m prepared to do everything it takes to be the best at my position.
RR: How many teams have you spoken with so far during the process? Do you have any visits set up right now?
MC: At the combine, I think I met with around 27-28 teams. That was formally and informally. Also, I have a few private workouts coming up here after the pro day. I’m not sure if I can give you all the info, but I have a meeting after the pro day with a defensive line coach, a couple private workouts and some more meetings. So I have a bunch lined up, and I also have some top 30 visits as well.
My schedule is going to be busy. Not all those schedules are locked in as well so it might change a little bit more but it will definitely be busy right up until draft day.
RR: What do you have planned for the draft? Where do you plan on being/watching?
MC: The plan right now is to have a decent sized get together at my house back in Texas. So I am going to have my family, friends, and we are just going to have a good time while I sit there and wait for that call.
RR: For any fans of a team you may end up apart of, what kind of player and person are they getting in Maxx Crosby?
MC: If I am going to be playing for your team, I am going to give everything I have. At the end of the day, I am going to be a great pass rusher, great run defender and a game changer who is going to make a big play. I want to be the guy who gets the sack. I want to be the game changer sho forces the fumble, tips the ball at the line of scrimmage to get the interception, the guy who changes the momentum of the game.
That’s something I have pride in myself with and I plan on bringing to the next level. As a person, I am super laid back, super happy and if I am in your city, I am going to be the guy who is doing stuff for the community. I am just going to be the best person I can be, on and off the field.
*Editor’s Note: Maxx Crosby’s pro day was held on March 21 and has since passed.