The cornerback position is an interesting one for the Las Vegas Raiders ahead of training camp this year. Recent news and developments only serve to further cloud the position.
As we all know, the only lock at corner going into the 2021 season for the Raiders is Trayvon Mullen. However, the team also added Casey Hayward who brings invaluable experience within Gus Bradley’s system. The new defensive coordinator was also given a bevy of new defensive backs at April’s NFL draft. Among this batch was Nate Hobbs from Illinois, who’s been impressing the coach.
While no one’s suggesting that Hobbs could usurp last year’s first-round choice, Damon Arnette, stranger things have happened. Most have now heard about Vic Tafur’s report regarding Arnette, pointing out he could be an ‘afterthought.’ Regardless of the validity, if Arnette’s indeed dropping out of sight, it could present itself as an opportunity. As far as Hobbs is concerned, the rookie has made the most of this offseason and is now trending upward.
Raiders Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley: “Very impressed with him.”
Bradley recently praised Hobbs via the official Raiders website, further elaborating that he’s jumped out at them this offseason. He went a step further acknowledging his football IQ, “I think he’s come in with a real good knowledge of the position, so his learning curve has really jumped up.”
Back in February, Kyle Crabbs of the Draft Network referred to Hobbs as a developmental outside cornerback. Meaning that while there was an upside, he shouldn’t be expected to take over a starting role on the outside in his rookie year. In spite of this, Crabbs praised him and his prospects as an NFL cornerback. In particular, he noted that he has the adequate athletic ability to play at the pro level.
Mullen also sang Hobbs’ praises, shedding light on what he’s seen in practice from the rookie.
“I feel like he’s going to be really talented. He practices hard; he goes through his drills really well. I feel like he’s going to be a real good player for us as long as he just keeps his mentality up and keeps going hard every day.”
How exactly Hobbs will fit into the defense this year remains to be seen with training camp yet to commence. Who knows, maybe he’ll replace the departed Lamarcus Joyner by getting playing time as a nickel cornerback.
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*Top Photo: Official Raiders Website