Oakland Raiders: Can DE Jack Crawford Have an Impact as a Rookie?

The Oakland Raiders have voiced their high expectations for rookie defensive end Jack Crawford.

That came as quite the pleasant surprise to the former Penn State player, who told SF Gate's Vittorio Tafur that prior to draft night, he was mentally preparing himself "that [he] wasn’t going to get upset if [he] didn’t get drafted." Crawford didn't play football until his junior year in high school.

Obviously the Raiders believed in the 275 pounder. Crawford's athleticism stems from the years he spent playing basketball while growing up in London, England.

Head coach Dennis Allen has faith in Crawford's ability because "he’s big, athletic, runs really well" and believes that the Raiders are "going to be able to define a pretty good role for him" in their defensive scheme (per CSN Bay Area).

Working with Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly should help too. Not only do they take some pressure off the defensive ends to make big plays, but their vast football knowledge will help Crawford get acclimated to life as an NFL player.

Crawford should get ample opportunity to make his statement in the NFL considering the Raiders don't have one of the league's better defenses.

The SackSEER predicts Crawford to amass 10 sacks in 2012.

Whether he lives up to the high expectations and makes the most of his opportunities remains to be seen, but his attitude will help him head in the right direction.

As he said in the Tafur interview:

"I’m happy that I got drafted, but for me, this is the beginning. This is where I have to improve myself so I can help the Raiders and hopefully help us win the Super Bowl."

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