The Las Vegas Raiders are banking on a huge year from rookie Trevon Moehrig, who must put together a Derwin James-like rookie season.
During his time as the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers franchise, Gus Bradley was able to work with some excellent young defensive players. One player, in particular, Derwin James, thrived under Bradley, becoming an instant star in the league after being selected with the No. 17 overall pick out of Florida State.
A tremendous strong safety prospect, James certainly lived up to his first-round billing, becoming one of the best safeties in the NFL right out of the gate. An All-Pro as a rookie, James was able to come in and stabilize the position group for the Chargers, and while rookie Trevon Moehrig will play free safety, he could have the same impact.
Remember, this is a very young Raiders defensive backfield and one where Moehrig is going to have the opportunity to come in and start right away. With Johnathan Abram entering his second full season in the NFL after missing most of his rookie season due to injury, the starting duo is young, but if anybody can get the best out of them, it is one of the better defensive backs minds in the NFL.
Moehrig is going to be expected to come in and start right away, and if he is the player we saw on tape during his time at TCU, he is going to be an absolute steal of a second-round pick.
Raiders bolstered the safety room in 2021
Overall, this is a position group that was bolstered in a big way this offseason, with Moehrig being selected in the second round, and Karl Joseph being brought back to the fold. He is of the same mold as Abram, as a hard-hitting strong safety, so if Abram falters, the Raiders finally have some quality depth at the position group.
Also, the Raiders used a fourth-round pick on Tyree Gillespie, a Missouri product who proved to have a nose for the ball during his four seasons with the Tigers. Undrafted free agent Shaun Crawford comes to the Raiders after a six-year college career at Notre Dame, and Dallin Leavitt returns as well.
This could be the most depth the position group has had in years.
Not only should Moehrig be solid in 2021, but Abram should thrive in Bradley’s system as well, one that highlights strong defensive back play. This is a young group that must excel in 2021 if the Raiders are to prove they are trending in the right direction with this position group, and I believe they will.