No surprise here as Pro Football Focus leaves out all of the Las Vegas Raiders’ safeties off of a recent ranking.
The Raiders have been unable to field a competent safety unit for what seems like an eternity. Some would argue there hasn’t been a reliable player in the backfield since Charles Woodson retired. This isn’t so much a knock on the players as individuals rather it’s a microcosm of the organization’s larger problems. These issues range from questionable drafting to underwhelming defensive schemes, so pick your poison. One example is when the Raiders signed Lamarcus Joyner who was coming off a promising career with the Los Angeles Rams. Paul Guenther then forced Joyner into the slot despite showing prowess as a free safety. Luckily for the Raiders, Gus Bradley will now be calling the shots as defensive coordinator.
As far as 2020’s concerned, it really shouldn’t shock anyone that PFF didn’t name any Raiders safeties in their top 32 list. 2021 in theory, should be an improvement over what the team fielded last season. If nothing else, the unit will look completely different so they can only go up after being shredded through the air. As a whole, the pass defense gave up 4,212 yards through the air, surrendering 28 touchdowns in the process. Again, the defense as a whole was flawed but the safeties were clearly the unit’s biggest weakness. The only returning player that should see action in 2021 will be former first-round pick, Johnathan Abram. There’s plenty of hope that Abram can turn it around under Bradley and defensive backs coach, Ron Milus.
Not much experience with the Raiders’ safeties
The rest of the safeties’ room is composed of rookies and a returning player in Karl Joseph. Joseph, another former first-round pick, returns to the Silver and Black hoping to recapture his 2019 form. That year, he was graded 78.1 in the run defense department, along with a 64.7 grade in coverage. Nevertheless, much of the team’s hopes rest on this year’s second-round selection, TCU’s Trevon Moehrig.
Believe it not, but Moehrig might end up having the best shot to make PFF’s list next year out of all the Raiders’ safeties. He’s already off to a hot start with OTAs in full swing, going as far as impressing the team’s veterans. While some may not put much weight into PFF grades or rankings, it certainly isn’t a good sign that no Raiders cracked a list of 32 NFL safeties. Moving forward, both fans and the organization itself, sure hope that 2021 will have better results.
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