The Las Vegas Raiders have had a season unlike anything anyone expected. Through it all, they have found players more reliable than any they have had in previous years. Those players deserve all the credit for being the glue in a team that would otherwise fall apart. As Pro-Bowl voting wraps up on Dec. 16, let’s take a look at the three Raiders most deserving of a Pro Bowl selection this season.
Punter AJ Cole
Third-year punter AJ Cole has been the unsung hero of the Raiders season. As the offense consistently misses the mark on third downs, Cole is always ready to come in and pin opponents as close to their own end zone as possible.
Cole has excelled in his third year. Per PFF, Cole leads the league in gross punting average with his average kick going for 51.12 yards. His season-long is 71 yards (3rd) and he has pinned the Raiders opponents inside the 20-yard line on 24 separate occasions (T-4th). His PFF grade sits at 86.4 this year, an impressive step up from his 66.1 grade in 2020.
Not only has Cole been reliable as a punter, but he also has one tackle for a forced fumble this season. A punter that can do it all, what more could you ask for?
LB Denzel Perryman
Perryman has made arguably the biggest splash for the team and is having a Pro Bowl quality season after the Raiders traded for the linebacker just weeks before the regular season started.
Perryman has 104 solo tackles this season per PFF, the most in the league. While his solo tackles are impressive on its own, Perryman is in the mix on nearly every defensive stop. He has achieved the highest pass-rush grade of his career in the desert with a season average of 83.0. He has been the perfect complement to DE Maxx Crosby, DE Yannick Ngakoue, and the rest of the Raiders defensive line.
Perryman has served as the role model both on and off the field that the Raiders young defense needed, earning the praise of many of his teammates, including Maxx Crosby.
DE Maxx Crosby
We know he loves to give out praise, but he has earned a little bit of his own this season. “Mad Maxx” Crosby has been a force to be reckoned with in 2021. After his monstrous rookie season and solid sophomore season, he has blossomed into a nearly unstoppable player in year three.
“Maxx (Crosby) is playing at an extremely, extremely high level right now,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said last week. “Both (Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue) are doing a good job… we really rely on those guys.”
Crosby has seven sacks, 15 QB hits, and 76 total pressures this season per PFF. He has a game-changing 91.7 overall grade from PFF, but he really shines in the pass rush. Crosby has a 92.2 pass-rush grade this season, a massive improvement from both 2019 and 2020.
Crosby has had a Defensive Player of the Year type of season and has been in talks for the award since Week 1. He has shown the NFL and his teammates how crucial he is to the defense’s success. If he continues this trend of massive improvement year to year, Crosby will be unstoppable for seasons to come.
Share This Article
Support independent news coverage by sharing on your platforms