Las Vegas Raiders double up on defense with Divine Deablo at No. 80
The Las Vegas Raiders further shore up the defense by selecting Divine Deablo out of Virginia Tech with the 80th overall pick.
The Las Vegas Raiders had a major need at safety coming into the NFL Draft and they used their second-round pick on TCU’s Trevon Moehrig. They doubled up on the position and on the defensive side of the ball with a player in Divine Deablo who can play both linebacker and safety.
The Raiders also had back-to-back picks in the third round in 2020 and went all offense but after the unit’s struggles during the season, they went all defense in 2021.
Deablo, aside from having perhaps the best name in this draft, is a hybrid player who originally went to Virginia Tech as a three-star wide receiver recruit but switched to defense after his freshman year. He became a full-time starter in 2018 and had his best season in 2020 as he was named First Team All-ACC and led the Hokies in passes defended and interceptions with 8 and 4 respectively.
Raiders build depth on the defense with this selection
Deablo measures in at 6-3, 226 and looks more like a linebacker than a safety but he has blazing speed which he displayed with a 4.44 40 at his pro day. There are some questions about what his long-term positional outlook is but the Raiders are likely looking to use him as a nickel linebacker due to his speed and coverage ability.
The Raiders can also utilize Deablo as a safety and his size and speed will allow him to match up well with the big tight ends in the AFC West. With the addition of Deablo and the hopeful improvements of Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton after a real offseason, the Raiders could have a great linebacker group after bringing back Nicholas Morrow as well.
Deablo will likely compete with second-year players Javin White and Tanner Muse for playing time as the fourth linebacker on the active roster but he can contribute on special teams right away to further make his case. His versatility also makes him a potential backup at several positions and the Raiders will hope that he handles the information better than other hybrid players they’ve picked recently.
With all of the struggles that the defense had in 2020 to consistently get stops, it’s great to see the Raiders focus on that side of the ball after picking Alex Leatherwood in the first round. We will have to wait and see what they do in rounds 4-7 but going all defense would be well received by Raider Nation.