The talk of the offseason for the Las Vegas Raiders has been their defense as it looks much improved compared to last season’s dismal unit.
The defensive line boasts talent and depth, while the secondary has promise after the Raiders reloaded it during the 2021 NFL Draft and free agency. One name picking up steam is Nate Hobbs, the defensive back Las Vegas took in the fifth round.
Hobbs has been earning the respect of his teammates, and Derek Carr had high praise for the young corner. “Yeah, I love Nate. Super competitive,” Carr said. “One thing I’ve loved about him is his confidence. Every young DB comes here with confidence. They’re the next Deion [Sanders] and are like, ‘I’m going to pick you off.’ And I’m like, ‘OK buddy.’ Now I’ve heard that 1,000 times and they all say it, and I love it. Obviously, he’s made some splash plays and he’s going to be, I think, a really good player in this league. Hopefully a great one, that’d be good for us.
“But one thing I’ve seen is when he doesn’t win a rep, when he does get embarrassed on a double move or something like that at practice, how does he respond. If he gives up a play in the game, how does he respond. That guy, among a lot of guys I’ve been around, does not lose confidence and that’s hard to do in this league at DB, but if you can get to that point where it doesn’t matter what happens, this is what I do and this is how I work, it’s a real freeing feeling, and you can play better.”
In the team’s preseason win over the Los Angeles Rams, Hobbs got extended playing time and delivered in both nickel packages and on the outside. That versatility will come in handy during the year as Gus Bradley will look to mix and match his coverages depending on the team.
All signs seem to be pointing up for the Raiders defense, and it looks like they might have gotten a steal in Hobbs.