It was only the preseason but the Las Vegas Raiders appear to have a steal in cornerback, Nate Hobbs.
Once Gus Bradley was cemented as the new Raiders defensive coordinator, the organization went to work. Among the noteworthy offseason moves was snagging Hobbs in the draft’s fifth round. Looking back, Hobbs made an impression from the outset. Throughout the team’s early offseason activities all through training camp, Hobbs received rave reviews. Once preseason got underway, Hobbs made the most of his opportunity. Hobbs’ impact has been so great, that it’s plausible he’ll be the starting nickel corner come Week 1.
Pro Football Focus is impressed with the Raiders rookie
While taking a look at rookies that were drafted outside of this year’s first round, Hobbs stood out among the best.
Highest-graded non 1st-RD defenders in #NFL preseason— PFF College (@PFF_College) August 30, 2021
1. Nate Hobbs, Raiders CB – 90.7
2. Elijah Sullivan, 49ers LB – 89.9
3. Jonathon Cooper, Broncos ED – 88.6
4. Elijah Molden, Titans CB – 85.7 pic.twitter.com/qRIBzpsuQg
Standing out during preseason is deceiving, every year a team gets new ‘darlings.’ Raider Nation knows all this too well, however, Hobbs appears to be a legitimate revelation. PFF graded Hobbs 90.7 this preseason, with other notables such as the Broncos’ Jonathon Cooper topping the list. Earlier in the preseason, PFF was impressed with Hobbs’ exceptional awareness and recovery speed.
Hobbs certainly has the approval of fans and analysts alike, though the decision is obviously not theirs. Amik Robertson, whom some had forgotten about, impressed last Sunday. Predicted to be Hobbs’ backup, Robertson came on strong late, as he finished with four tackles in 35 snaps per The Athletic. With Monday Night Football approaching, we’ll soon see how much of Hobbs’ hype translates into regular-season production.
*Top Photo: Courtesy of Official Raiders Website