The 2021 Las Vegas Raiders’ draft class was an interesting one for a variety of reasons. One of the best players in the class is defensive back Nate Hobbs.
Hobbs was one of the most slept-on players in last year’s draft, but he woke a lot of people up with his play. Those fans aren’t sleeping anymore, and Hobbs will look to make a statement in 2022.
Nate Hobbs’ 2021 Season
As the 2021 season progressed, Hobbs began to see more action with each game. He did not disappoint. Hobbs never had a large amount of playing time, so while his stats may seem underwhelming, it’s important to keep his sample size in mind. Overall, Hobbs had 54 solo tackles, 17 assisted tackles, an interception and a forced fumble. Hobbs also allowed a 94.8 passer rating when targeted and gave up about eight yards per reception. For reference on that passer rating stat, a 94.8 passer rating was about the same as the 15th highest passer rating among all quarterbacks in 2021. This signifies that Hobbs was around league-average in this category.
The best game of Hobbs’ rookie campaign came in Week 11 against Cincinnati. When grading defensive players aside from tackle statistics, it can be hard to evaluate their true performance based on just the stats sheet alone. For this reason, in this article we’ll take a look at some of Hobbs’ advanced stats from Pro Football Focus. In the Raiders’ loss to the Bengals, Nate Hobbs was impressive across the board. He earned tremendous grades, with a 75.5 total defense grade, 67.8 run defense, 79 for tackling, 74.1 for pass rushing, and a 73.1 coverage grade.
Hobbs’ worst performance came in Week 1, which isn’t surprising considering it was the first real NFL action for the rookie cornerback. He struggled across the board, most notably with a poor 60.9 overall defense grade. Fortunately for Hobbs and the Raiders as a whole, this was really the only overall bad performance for the rookie over the entire course of the 2021 season.
Nate Hobbs’ 2022 Outlook With The Raiders
Last year, Hobbs impressed a lot of people, and those decision makers in the Raiders’ organization were clearly in that group. After Las Vegas lost Casey Hayward to free agency, many expected them to look to upgrade at cornerback. The Raiders did bring in Rock Ya-Sin via trade, but truthfully, no large upgrade in the position was made.
There are many opinions regarding the Raiders’ decision here, but it does show the trust the team has in Hobbs and Trayvon Mullen. Last year, Hobbs looked very impressive, and PFF went on to rank him as the fifth-highest graded cornerback in the league last year, based on an overall defense grade.
The team’s confidence in Hobbs is apparent, and he’s currently shaping up to be the team’s starting slot corner as we head into the 2022 season. Hobbs will get a lot of opportunities to prove himself, and he should be expected to have an impressive season.
Hobbs’ Stat Prediction
We know Hobbs will get a lot of snaps this season, and he should get a lot more than he did last year. There’s no more Heyward or Brandon Facyson getting opportunities in front of him, so his numbers in 2022 should definitely increase.
A realistic stat prediction for Hobbs? 65 solo tackles, 20 assisted tackles, two forced fumbles, two sacks, 10 missed tackles, two interceptions, and a passer rating allowed of 92.
*Top Photo: L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal