The Las Vegas Raiders’ bye week came a little early this year so we’re handing out some early season awards at Silver and Black Pride during the downtime. We are over a quarter of the way through the campaign so there is a decent sample size to work with and we’ll circle back at the end of the season to see how wrong we all were. Since there are three months between now and then a lot can happen and that should make this a fun exercise to see who can start and finish the campaign strong!
Consensus winners: Maxx Crosby and Josh Jacobs
Bill Williamson (BW): Maxx Crosby
Crosby is an elite defensive player and a candidate for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He is tied for the most sacks in the NFL and has the most tackles for loss in through five games in the league in 10 years. He never stops. Outside of the quarterback position, he is the one guy the Raiders would miss the most if he wasn’t playing.
Marcus Johnson (MJ): Josh Jacobs
Jacobs has been a stud all season where he has returned to his rookie form. He’s third in the NFL in forced missed tackles with 28 and 4.19 yards after contact. What a start to 2022 for Jacobs.
Matt Holder (MH): Maxx Crosby
There have been plenty of players who have been up and down this year for the Silver and Black, but Crosby isn’t one of them. He’s posted an overall PFF grade above 70 every single week and is currently sitting on a four-game sack streak. With 22 pressures so far, he ranks tied for fourth among all edge rushers, picking up right where he left off from last season.
Ray Aspuria (RA): Josh Jacobs
A slow start and questionable usage in the first three games turned into back-to-back 20-plus carry outings that saw the workhorse tailback gallop for 144 and 154 yards with three total touchdowns in Weeks 4 and 5. His resurgence is truly something to behold as there’s no running back by committee in Las Vegas.
Offensive Player of the Year
Consensus winner: Josh Jacobs
BW: Josh Jacobs
He is running as well as any tailback in the NFL right now. I know running backs aren’t overly coveted in free agency, but Jacobs is moving up a tax bracket or two next March.
MJ: Davante Adams
Even with the controversy surrounding Derek Carr and Davante Adams from ESPN Adams has lived up to the hype. He is currently second in the NFL in touchdowns with five and 8th in receiving yards (414). While most say he missed Aaron Rodgers, the stats disagree.
MH: Josh Jacobs
You could make a pretty good case for Jacobs to be the MVP as he’s racked up 489 yards on 91 carries — 5.4 yards per rush — and three touchdowns, and he’s done a lot of that work on his own. He has the second-most yards after contact among running backs with 381 and is in third for missed tackles forced with 28. The third-year back is also getting involved in the passing game with 17 catches on 18 targets for 129 receiving yards.
RA: Daniel Carlson
The Raiders kicker is truly money this season going 15 of 15 on field goals. He’s made 38-straight kicks and many of them aren’t easy ones and from a good distance. He’s scored 53 of the Raiders' total 125 points this season (42.4 percent), just behind Derek Carr (56 points on eight touchdowns thrown). (Davante Adams will be the name in this category soon enough, don’t worry).
Defensive Player of the Year
Consensus winner: Maxx Crosby
BW: Maxx Crosby
I don’t care that he’s MVP. He’s my DPOY too. Give him all the hardware.
MJ: Maxx Crosby
I feel like everyone will have this so I just add Crosby has become elite. End of story.
MH: Nate Hobbs
Hobbs struggled against the Chiefs to push him down the leaderboards statistically, but he’s been rock solid outside of that one bad outing. Before that debacle on Monday night, he hadn’t surrendered a touchdown and was averaging about 25 yards allowed per game. He’s been getting the job done against the run too, ranking ninth among corners with an 83.0 PFF run defense grade even after struggling last week.
RA: Maxx Crosby
The Raiders' return on investment after giving the pass rusher a four-year $94 million contract extension is quite the boon as Mad Maxx has six sacks to go along with 31 total tackles and 11 stops for loss.
Rookie of the Year
Consensus winner: Dylan Parham
BW: Dylan Parham
He’s stepped right in and done a serviceable job and has shown his versatility. That’s impressive for a rookie. Should be a solid if not spectacular player for the Silver and Black for the long haul.
MJ: Dylan Parham
While Raiders draft picks have been hard to come by, Dylan Parham has impressed early. While he had a few struggles at left guard and center he displayed he can special as a right guard. Parham has a chance to become a pro bowler if he reaches his potential.
MH: Dylan Parham
To me, this is the easiest award to pick. The coaching staff has asked a lot of Parham in year one as he’s made starts at three different positions in five games, including center which can be the most difficult spot on the offensive line for a rookie to pick up mentally. He’s had his ups and downs but the pure fact that he’s been a first-stringer every game while learning a new position gets him the hardware.
RA: Dylan Parham
The third-round pick has integrated himself nicely on the Raiders' offensive line at both guard and center. The Memphis product was not a liability at either spot and proved he can handle either spot. He’s settled in at guard and gives the Las Vegas a lineman that can continue to develop into a strong presence in pass protection and run blocking.
Comeback Player of the Year
Consensus winner: Amik Robertson
BW: Amik Robertson
He was in danger of getting whacked off the roster, but he has carved a solid role for himself and has flashed with some big plays, including scoring the Raiders’ first defensive touchdown in nearly three years. Let’s see him keep it up.
MJ: Andrew Billings
This one was tough but I thought Billings fit the bill. A player who was the first signee of the Raiders’ free-agent class has been a solid run defender working the interior for Patrick Graham. He might end up as one of the best free-agent signings of the year.
MH: Amik Robertson
Last season, Robertson got benched and barely saw the field after Week 6, and at the end of this year’s training camp, it looked like he was on the roster bubble. But so far in 2022, he’s performed admirably as Las Vegas has suffered a handful of injuries at cornerback and needed someone on the depth chart to step up. The third-year pro has posted a solid 65.1 PFF coverage grade and might have saved his career as a backup defensive back.
RA: Amik Robertson
The diminutive cornerback appeared to be a player on the chopping block in the preseason but has shown flashes of brilliance in the regular season. He’s got a scoop and score under his belt to go along with 11 total tackles and an interception this season.