Raiders: 3 players ready to take a leap forward in 2022
Nate Hobbs proved to be quite the special player during his rookie season in 2021. Hobbs was drafted in the 5th round and immediately caught the eyes of the team in OTAs and minicamp. Former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has a prestigious history in drafting and developing secondary players and Hobbs is no different.
Hobbs not only won the slot corner position out of training camp but forced the team to cut incumbent starter Nevin Lawson when Lawson returned from a two-game suspension due to Hobbs’s high level of play.
In his rookie season, Hobbs showed great coverage ability and a fierce approach as a slot defender in both the pass and the run. Hobbs was already a top slot corner in the NFL during his rookie season and a new scheme under Patrick Graham should help Hobbs have more playmaking ability. Hobbs should be locked into this starting role despite some off-the-field concerns and the Raiders didn’t even bring in any real competition for Hobbs this offseason.
He was truly unleashed last season in the slot after barely playing inside during college. Hobbs has mentioned that he is once again trying to prove himself but based on his play last season, Hobbs can become a dynamic player for the Raiders as a cover corner, blitzer, and run stopper.
The old staff clearly loved Hobbs as he played 92% of the defensive snaps in the Raiders’ 2021 wildcard appearance.