The Las Vegas Raiders intelligently added reinforcements to their porous defense on Day 2 of the NFL draft. With their second selection in the third round, they went with Virginia Tech’s Divine Deablo.
After a somewhat questionable first day, the Raiders’ front office tackled their biggest defensive deficiencies the following day. Picking up Trevon Moehrig gives the squad a solid safety group after Karl Joseph returned in free agency. Adding Malcolm Koonce gives them a rotational pass rusher with the expectation he can turn into the player the team expected Arden Key to be. Deciding that the team needed more versatility and speed, the Raiders went with Deablo.
Deablo played safety for the Hokies but was considerably large for the position. Listed at six-foot-three and 226 pounds, the Virginia Tech product was a devastating tackler in college. With players such as Moehrig, Joseph, and Johnathan Abram on the roster, he’ll fit right in. Initially a wide receiver, Deablo excelled in tackling, accumulating 117 solo tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, and three forced fumbles. He also made sure to polish his talent, bringing down his missed tackles totals each year. From 2018-2020, his totals dropped from 13 to 12, and finally, to seven in his final season per Pro Football Focus.
What can the Raiders expect from Deablo?
More than likely, Deablo would be a better fit in coverage as a linebacker, he’s patient and can deliver the big hit. Perhaps, he can be the answer to the team’s woes in dealing with tight ends, particularly Travis Kelce. In other words, he’ll be a prototypical hybrid player in Gus Bradley’s system. In college, Deablo lined up all over the defensive backfield. He totaled 259 box snaps, 201 in the slot, and 155 deep in coverage as a free safety.
Deablo himself believes that he can play anywhere, dubbing himself a true football player that can line up all over the field. Running a 4.42 in his 40-yard dash during his Pro Day surely helped his stock. He was a captain at this year’s Senior Bowl, and we know how much the Raiders value leadership and character. Depending on what happens with Tanner Muse in camp, it’s possible that Deablo might end up taking over the role he was intended to fill.
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*Top Photo: Tech Lunch Pail/Harley Taylor