Raiders LB Divine Deablo turning into a draft steal entering Year 4

The Las Vegas Raiders defense improved in a big way in 2023, and linebacker Divine Deablo was a big reason why.

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders / Candice Ward/GettyImages

The Las Vegas Raiders go into the 2024 offseason with solid pieces in place on both sides of the ball. The defense, led by star edge rusher Maxx Crosby took a major step forward as a unit, as players along the defensive line, at linebacker, and in the secondary were better than advertised.

In the 2023 NFL Draft, the Raiders were hoping that adding Tyree Wilson to the pass rush would help free Crosby coming off the edge. However, it would end up being third-year player Malcolm Koonce who stepped into that role, and after Antonio Pierce took over as head coach, he notched all eight of sacks.

While the rise of Koonce was crucial to the Raiders pass rush, it was the improvement of another third-year player that helped turn around the second level of the Las Vegas defense. Divine Deablo came into the year with high expectations, earning the green dot during the summer, but nobody could have seen the season he put together.

Finally healthy, Deablo became a tackling machine for the Raiders, and with another strong season, could end up being a huge draft steal from the 2021 cycle.

Raiders to lean on Deablo even more in 2024

The arrival of Robert Spillane was crucial to the Raiders linebacker group, and he proved to be more than worth the investment in free agency. Spillane became a leader on defense with his inspired play and tenacity, and the combination of he and Deablo gave the Raiders two crucial linebackers on Patrick Graham's defense.

For Deablo, this has been a long time coming, as we saw glimpses of his potential during the 2022 season before an injury ended his second season in the league. In 2023, he started a career-high 15 games, and racked up 106 tackles, including 65 of the solo variety.

With Graham returning as the team's defensive coordinator, the Raiders defense could reach even bigger heights in 2024. The team has money to spend in free agency, and some solid draft capital, but for the first time in a long time, there are multiple legitimate playmakers returning to the defense, and that should put the rest of the NFL on notice.