The fifth-round pick (158th overall) is considered a project player with limited experience in the eyes of many, having started football as a junior in high school after moving from the U.K. to the U.S.
Crawford looks to contribute from the get-go though in his first year, according to head coach Dennis Allen.
“He’s big, athletic, runs really well,” Allen told Paul Gutierrez of CSN Bay Area. ”And he’s had some production, and so again we look for versatility in guys and we try to find roles for specific guys and I think as you look at him, as we get a chance to work with him, I think we’re going to be able to define a pretty good role for him.”
During his 49-game college career, Crawford started three seasons at Penn State, racking up a total of 14 sacks.
He totaled 31 tackles, tied the team lead for fumble recoveries, chalked up one forced fumble and broke up three passes in his sophomore season. The London native was firing on all cylinders last year with 40 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 2011.
While he has to work on his technique and need to develop into more of a prototypical 4-3 DE, he certainly has the potential to succeed in the league. At 6-5, 274 pounds, Crawford has a huge frame, along with 33.5 inch arms and 10.25 inch hands.
According to Football Outsiders’ SackSEER—a virtual model which projects five-year sack totals for incoming 4-3 DEs and 3-4 OLBs—indicates that Crawford will collect 10 sacks this season.
Only time will tell what Crawford and fellow rookies will bring to the table when the put on their pads in late July.