Missouri safety Joshuah Bledsoe could help shore up the Las Vegas Raiders’ defensive backfield at April’s NFL Draft.
Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley will have a tough task reshaping the secondary. Johnathan Abram should be the only safety returning from the disastrous 2020 campaign. It’s also a possibility that the Raiders’ brain trust parts ways with Lamarcus Joyner, which would leave the backfield dangerously thin. Joshuah Bledsoe could be an interesting pick up if he’s available in the mid-rounds.
A four-year player at Missouri, Bledsoe played against SEC offenses. Defending the receivers from this conference surely means his skills could find a place in the NFL. Statistically, the safety amassed 87 solo tackles, seven and a half tackles for a loss, 18 passes defensed, and two forced fumbles.
What can Bledsoe bring to the Raiders defense?
Standing at six feet even and weighing in at 200 pounds, Bledsoe squeaks by as far as height requirements. Joyner and Amik Robertson stand at five-foot-eight while Abram is five-foot-11. Heading into the 2021 season, it would be a concern to have too many undersized defenders in the backfield. His size and speed help him stand out in man coverage as you can see in film. Since his high school days, Bledsoe was a ball hawk with a nose for always making the big plays which translated in college.
A lot of highlights show Bledsoe’s strength is in the slot, which should bode well for the Raiders. Bradley could let Abram roam deep, have Bledsoe stick to the slot, and let Joyner play the role of ‘buzz defender’. This is just one of many scenarios in Bradley’s scheme but Bledsoe to the Raiders makes sense.
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*Top Photo: Jeff Roberson/The Associated Press