As was the case last week, Las Vegas Raiders rookie Nate Hobbs stole the show. Presumably, his play has locked up the starting slot corner job as well. Let’s take a closer look at what made his game so special.
The biggest thing that always sticks out about Hobbs is his passion and energy. Oftentimes in the draft, the Raiders front office has preached that they want guys who ‘love football.‘ They got one with Hobbs for sure.
This play proves how much Hobbs just loves to play ball. As a slot corner, he will be asked to be involved in the run game quite often. In this play, Hobbs does an excellent job of diagnosing the run play and just attacking the ball. Getting in on this tackle as a slot corner is not expected so no one would’ve blamed him for just keeping his contain. However, seeing the fifth-rounder stick his nose in there and make the play had to make Jon Gruden smile.
Not to put a damper on this play but it was really quite easy for Hobbs. A nice play for sure, but the receiver doesn’t even try to block him. Personally, the biggest takeaway here is, again, his energy. The way Hobbs flies in and flattens the receiver then celebrates instantly brings the energy of the whole defense up.
In this game, Hobbs was able to get his first NFL interception. The play was a beautiful one.
The interesting note on this play is that Hobbs is playing boundary corner, the first time he has done that in the NFL. While it is hard to tell without the All-22 angle, it appears the Raiders are playing Cover 3 here, which puts the onus on the outside corners to get deep and eliminate their third of the field. Hobbs does more than enough on this play.
First of all, he recognizes the route concept quickly. The Rams attack Cover 3 with a seam route right between the thirds on this play. Typically, this is a good play call but Perkins just waits too long to deliver this ball and doesn’t have the arm strength to drive it. Hobbs, makes him pay with an incredibly athletic play on the back end. These ball skills have not been seen on the Raiders in years and are severely needed.
Truthfully, Hobbs did not do much wrong on Saturday. While he did miss an easy sack as a result of attacking too hard, Perkins is a terrific creator out of the structure and this is the time of year to make those mistakes. Of course, Hobbs still has a lot to prove in the NFL. It is just the preseason and he is making plays against many players who likely have no NFL future. However, he has positioned himself nicely to be a valuable part of the Week 1 defense and that is as much as you can expect from a fifth-round pick.
*Top Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports