Round 4, Pick 167: Nate Hobbs, CB
You can already guess what the grade here will be, because man, what a season the 5th round rookie out of Illinois had.
After impressing in camp, Nate Hobbs would slide right into the mix of things and start every game other than the two he didn’t suit up for.
The rookie may have only had two interceptions and 4 deflections on the season, but was stellar against the run finishing with 74 total tackles, 3.0 for a loss, and even a sack, on top of playing lockdown coverage in the slot; counting stats are not everything.
This earned Hobbs a 78.4 PFF grade, which is the 9th highest grade among all rookies of any position, and #1 among corners.
Cornerback is one of the hardest positions to find solid players at of any. I’d say only quarterback is a tougher position to find starter-level talent at. So for a guy coming out of Illinois picked way back in the 5th round to play at the level he did is impressive.
Raider fans should be happy the team finally seems to have some young talent in the secondary with the additions of Trevon Moehrig and Nate Hobbs in the 2021 draft. And they aren’t just guys playing well for rookies as we have seen in the past, guys who you assume will improve from above-average to good but don’t.
Even if neither player improves they are both still top half of the league, in Hobbs’s case, the top quarter at his position.
Of the entirety of the Gruden/Mayock era, Hobbs, along with Maxx Crosby, was the best pick on the defensive side of the ball. You could argue the best pick on either side of the ball excluding maybe Hunter Renfrow, but definitely the best value.
- Performance Grade: A
- Pick Grade: A