Every year, a player in the league advances to the next level of his profession, gaining national exposure and becoming a household celebrity. Last year, the Raiders had two players, Maxx Crosby and Hunter Renfrow. Those two took the league by storm, earning the respect of everyone in the league. With the new season approaching and a whole different look on the roster from top to bottom, some guys on the team could break out next season just like their teammates did the year prior.
4) Safety – Trevon Moehrig
Last season, the Raiders rookie was pushed into a new scheme and soon had to learn the NFL’s fast-paced pro-level style of play. Despite this, he had a strong rookie season, recording one interception, six pass deflections, and 36 solo tackles. Expect the former Texas Christian Horned Frog to move to the next level now that he is under Patrick Graham’s multiple defense, which means you may see him all over the field in the secondary.
3) Linebacker – Divine Deablo
Divine Deablo, a former third-round pick in last year’s draft, was another of the many late-round steals brought to the organization by previous General Manager Mike Mayock. He made his debut in the middle of the season but immediately made an impact on the team, finishing the season with one fumble recovery, 28 solo tackles, and one tackle for loss. He brought a hard-hitting style of play that soon earned him a fan favorite; it’s highly feasible he outperforms what he did last season as he works hard and is focused on becoming a better player with each snap.
2) Defensive End – Malcolm Koonce
Koonce got Raider fans excited about his debut on the field coming into the season, both to his outstanding performances while at Buffalo and also because he shared the same alumni as former Raider and current Charger Khalil Mack. Even though he was a late scratch during a lot of games with was a huge head-scratcher for fans, he has finally let off the leash getting two sacks in his first games, one being on Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Washington Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke.
This alone demonstrates that if given the snaps, he can easily get to the quarterback, but he has limited footage, so identifying his flaws will be difficult. The former Buffalo Bull will be goring offenses again this season, picking up where he left off last year.
1) Cornerback – Nate Hobbs
Nate Hobbs is the next man on the roster to come out; in his rookie year, he was mentored by seasoned teammates Casey Heyward and Brandon Facyson, and they rapidly strengthened him. When it came to playing on the field, he did very well indeed, with one sack, three pass deflections, one forced fumble, one sack, 51 solo tackles, three tackles for loss, and four quarterback hits. While mostly playing in the slot corner position, he certainly held his own against some of the game’s top wideouts. Hobbs is laser-focused this year, having put his off-the-field difficulties behind him and focusing solely on being a better football player in every way.
With a year of experience under his belt and a defensive genius like Patrick Graham working closely with him, putting him all over the field and demonstrating his versatility, the sky is the limit for him. Once the season begins, don’t be shocked if you see him performing well, as this is expected of him. Hobbs will be one of the best corners in this league; just watch and see.