Las Vegas Raiders: Young DBs must step up after tough sophomore seasons

Raiders, Trevon Moehrig(Photo by Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Raiders, Trevon Moehrig(Photo by Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Las Vegas Raiders struggled in a big way against the pass in 2022, and two young defensive backs must step up after disappointing second seasons.

During the 2021 Las Vegas Raiders season, the team saw multiple players step up in a big way, helping the team clinch an unlikely spot in the playoffs. While some were veterans, other key players were rookies during that season, including two defensive backs who really exceeded expectations.

In the 2021 NFL Draft, the Raiders traded up in the second round for Trevon Moehrig, a player who had big expectations going into Year 1. Moehrig was just as good as advertised as a rookie, dominating from his safety position, and establishing himself as a player who the team could build their defensive backfield around.

Another rookie who really came out of nowhere was Nate Hobbs, a fourth-round pick from the University of Illinois who proved to be one of the better slot cornerbacks in the NFL in Year 1. Hobbs’s development made him another young defensive back the team hoped to build around, but in his second season, like Moehrig, he struggled.

Now, the Raiders have two young defensive backs with major question marks going into their third season, but also two players who have more than enough talent to turn it around. There is no doubt they will be given every chance in 2023 to revert back to their 2021 form, and they must do so if the Raiders hope to keep pace with some of the giants of the AFC West.

Raiders will be making changes all over the defense

Both safety and cornerback are two positions where the Raiders will look to upgrade this offseason, whether it be in free agency or the 2023 NFL Draft. The truth is, the entire defense is likely to see a facelift, as plenty of their top players on that side of the ball are entering free agency, and may not be brought back after a disappointing 2022 campaign under a new regime.

If Hobbs and Moehrig can be the players they were in 2021, that fills two huge voids on this defense and allows David Ziegler to bolster the roster around them. For a lot of players, Year 2 is the hardest one for them, as teams are starting to figure them out, so the hope is, we will get a better version of both young defensive backs in 2023.