Raiders’CB Nate Hobbs has made the most of his preseason, and Las Vegas’s victory against the Los Angeles Rams was the exclamation point.
In the 2021 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders selected University of Illinois CB Nate Hobbs in the fifth round. The 167th overall pick was viewed as ‘raw’ and strictly a special teamer by some pundits, but the Raiders needed help at the cornerback position.
However, Hobbs has quickly shown that he is a difference-maker from the nickel cornerback position this preseason. This past Saturday night, versus the Los Angeles Rams, he showed potency patrolling the Raiders secondary.
In addition to the uncanny interception, the former Fighting Illini standout produced 2 PBU’s and showed off his keen read and react instincts along with sound open-field tackling. Furthermore, the Silver and Black can simply not afford to have this gem riding on the bench for the majority season for a few reasons.
The Raiders need defensive playmakers this season, and Nate Hobbs has shown he naturally attacks the football
Whether blitzing or in coverage, Las Vegas Raiders CB Nate Hobbs has consistently shown a natural talent that the Raiders secondary has been lacking. In recent seasons, the secondary has been ranked at the bottom of the NFL in generating turnovers.
In addition to the lack of turnovers, the team has lacked a reliable and consistent player from the nickel cornerback position. Now New York Jet, Lamarcus Joyner, held down the role in Paul Guenther’s defense and was underwhelming, to say the least. Although some may say it is simply preseason action, Hobbs’ natural ability to attack the football is a consistent staple of his play.
Moreover, his ability and confidence to play both inside and outside at the cornerback position is a point of emphasis for Las Vegas’ coaching staff this season. Should he continue to prove himself heading into the final week of the preseason, he rightfully should have a starting role with the Silver and Black for more than just 2 weeks (Nevin Lawson’s 2 game suspension) to start the season.
The Las Vegas Raiders signed Casey Hayward to bring leadership to the secondary, and he is going to have a solid impact on the young defensive backfield.
From both an athletic standpoint and mental awareness, his ceiling makes him a player that would be difficult to justify not seeing the field as much as possible to maximize his growth.