After their victory over the Los Angeles Rams, how did the Las Vegas Raiders’ rookies fare this time around?
The Raiders beat the Rams on Saturday, 17-16. The team wasn’t perfect but there was a handful of rookie performances that deserve praise. Here are the top three out of them all, followed by the rest of the rookies.
CB Nate Hobbs
Was this gonna be a surprise to anyone? Hobbs was already a standout in Week 1. All fans and coaches were asking for something similar the next time around and he exceeded that. The nickel back finished the game with four tackles (one for a loss), two passes defensed, and an interception. The tackle for a loss came in the first defensive series where Hobbs read the screen pass perfectly to shut it down. In the third quarter, Hobbs decided to play ballhawk on a deep pass which paid off with him snaring the ball. At this moment, the Raiders would look silly if they did not think that Hobbs should be the starting slot corner on opening week.
DE Malcolm Koonce
This performance was a bit more surprising, but a welcomed one. Against the Rams, The defensive end was second on the team tackles with six total tackles. He also had a sack in the fourth quarter but it was negated by a penalty in secondary. Even though the Raiders already have Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue as the starting defensive ends, it will be nice if Koonce can be a complementary force. He will have plenty of eyes on him when they reach the final preseason game.
RT Alex Leatherwood
As a first-rounder, it’s reasonable to expect Leatherwood to always make the list. Thankfully, he has done that in both weeks so far. Despite a minimal amount of play, the right tackle has looked more steady. He held his own against the defensive line and has looked sharper in terms of knowing his assignments. Everyone has had their worries (rightfully so) when Leatherwood was drafted but he has helped give us a sense of optimism for how he can contribute to the team.
What about the other rookies?
Tre’von Moehrig was similar to last week where he didn’t do much in his limited playing time but there’s nothing to make of that so don’t worry. Tyree Gillespie had three tackles, one of them for a loss. BJ Emmons had eight carries for 34 yards. Trey Ragas had six carries for one yard (two carries combined for negative nine yards) but still scored a touchdown. He at least had two receptions for 24 yards so there was a silver lining for the UDFA. Dillon Stoner had one reception for seven yards and DJ Turner had two catches for 19 yards. Garrett Groshek was given three carries for nine yards. Offensive linemen Jimmy Morrissey and Devery Hamilton looked pretty shaky which is concerning for the O-line’s depth.
There have been plenty of reasons to feel excited about this rookie class. Some have lived up to what we have been hoping for and others have shown to be more than that. What matters most, however, is how they perform by the time it counts.
*Top Photo: Official Raiders Website