With NFL training camp less than a month away, it’s time to think about which Las Vegas Raiders rookies can be Day 1 starters.
The 2021 draft class has received its share of praise and criticism. Some picks were viewed as a reach, a common narrative for the Raiders, and some picks were perfect. Nonetheless, some rookies will get a chance to make an instant impact by the time Week 1 rolls around.
Let’s take a look at who’ll be starting Day 1 for the Raiders…
Alex Leatherwood, Offensive Tackle
Many fans and analysts were not too happy with this pick and for good reason. However, being a first-round pick will pretty much ensure a spot in the starting lineup. The Alabama tackle had an 80.7 Pro Football Focus grade in his last year, something to be happy about. Something else to look for on the bright side is that he’ll have Tom Cable coaching him up.
Cable has been given some tough circumstances as the O-line coach and will certainly do what he can to help Leatherwood reach his potential. Unless he is injured during training camp or preseason, Leatherwood will be starting at right tackle come Week 1.
Trevon Moehrig, Defensive Back
Probably the best pick in the draft, Moehrig will look to have an immediate impact in the secondary. The TCU alumni finished his collegiate career with seven picks and 21 passes defended. A major problem for the Raiders defense last year was that they never had a true centerfield safety. Moehrig will fix that gap with his proven skills around the field. Another plus that he brings is that it helps Johnathan Abram settle into his own role and not play out of his comfort zone. The Raiders defense is far away from becoming formidable but if Moehrig can play up to expectations, it will certainly speed up the process.
Nate Hobbs, Cornerback
This pick right here is definitely more of the daring variety but there honestly weren’t many other options. That being said, it really wouldn’t be that far-fetched to see the fifth-round pick steal a starting spot at the slot. Hobbs has already received some praise from defensive coordinator Gus Bradley which is always a good way to start.
Slot corner will certainly be a very competitive position leading up to Week 1 with Amik Robertson and Nevin Lawson already in the fold. Lawson may face a two-week suspension for PED’s to start the season. Along with that, Lawson has been mentioned as a possible trade target soon. Bradley likes to use zone coverage, which is where Hobbs can excel compared to the competition. For now, this will be seen as a bold take until we actually see some action in the preseason.
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