With Week 1 of the NFL preseason now in the books, which Las Vegas Raiders rookies made the most of their opportunities?
Saturday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks proved to be successful with a final score of 20-7. While fans shouldn’t read heavily into preseason games, there are still plenty of players who have to prove themselves on the field, especially when entering the league. Here are the top rookies from this past Saturday’s matchup.
CB Nate Hobbs
After much speculation of being the starting corner out of the slot, Hobbs made great use of his playing time. In the 1st quarter, Hobbs blitzed the quarterback from the nickel and leveled him for an eight-yard sack. Gruden also stated postgame that Hobbs ‘might be the opening day starter for us’ per Levi Damien. The corner made another nice diving tackle earlier in the game off a block. Even when Nevin Lawson returns from his two-week suspension, Hobbs might retain the starting job.
RB Trey Ragas & BJ Emmons
Position battles are always going to be intriguing. But it’s even better when the competition is tight. Ragas and Emmons both delivered with a combined 107 rushing yards and both scoring touchdowns. Ragas also caught three passes for 20 yards. With Jalen Richard out with a foot injury and being the RB3, Ragas has a decent shot at taking his spot. Compliments must be given to Emmons as well, he had the longest rush of the game (22 yards). The competition between these two is bringing out the best in each other.
WR DJ Turner
With Zay Jones shining on offense, fans will wonder if it’s Willie Snead that will have to fight for the sixth spot. Turner added some pressure with a decent performance, a team-high seven receptions. While his yards per catch weren’t pretty (6.1), the target share is still noteworthy. He also had a couple of rushes for seven yards. However, there are still two more weeks for the other rookie, Dillon Stoner, to try to surpass him or Snead to secure his spot.
OT Alex Leatherwood
When you’re the 17th overall pick in the draft, it’s very reasonable to have high expectations. For the time that Leatherwood was on the field, he held his own pretty well. While he wasn’t going against starting pass rushers, he didn’t look like he was giving up much ground and helped make holes in the running game. One of his better plays was when he helped provide room for Ragas on his touchdown run in the first quarter. There were moments though when Leatherwood looked lost with several blocking assignments in pass protection. He was already known for being better in the run which is why Gruden drafted him but his pass protection certainly has room for improvement.
Best Of The Rest
Safeties Tre’von Moehrig and Tyree Gillespie both got playing time and each registered one solo tackle. While they didn’t do anything flashy, it’s better than having any highlights go against them. Malcolm Koonce was decent with a solo tackle and QB hit. And lastly, while Stoner only had one reception for 15 yards, he shared returning duties with Turner and got a couple of tackles in special teams which is worth mentioning.
*Top Photo: Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun