Per The Athletic’s Tashan Reed, linebacker Denzel Perryman missed another practice with an ankle injury. That means Divine Deablo, who has played the third-highest snap count at 97.4% for the Raiders’ defense this year, is going to continue to amass major playing time. Deablo, who was converted to linebacker from safety, is slowly transitioning into a key player for the Raiders’ defense.
In 2021, Deablo played only 27% of the Raiders’ defensive snaps. His progress, combined with a strong training camp, has turned him into a dependable player for defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. He has racked up 22 total tackles in two games in 2022, almost half of the amount he accounted for in 17 games last year. Though he’s far from perfect, Deablo is making his presence known, especially in run defense. According to Pro Football Focus, he’s accumulated a 67.9 grade in that department. However, there are still some growing pains. Alternatively, he’s graded at 40.5 in the coverage department.
The Titans present a tough challenge for Divine Deablo
Based on the numbers, Deablo had a solid outing against the Arizona Cardinals, but there is still room for improvement in coverage and missed tackles.
Going against a play-action and run-heavy team, Deablo is going to have to be excellent. At home against the Buffalo Bills, the Titans’ run game was exposed by linebackers Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds. They used their speed to their advantage, something Deablo can and will have to use.
In addition, No. 5 will also be asked to man up against third-down back Hassan Haskins and tight ends Geoff Swaim and Austin Hooper in pass coverage. Their effectiveness will be set up by Derrick Henry.
Deablo’s tackling will also be tested as he is going to have to chase down and attempt to cleanly tackle Henry. During the first two weeks of the season, Henry is off to a slow start, but once he gets going, he is as hard to take down as anyone in the league. That is because of his rare combination of imposing size and remarkable speed. Deablo and Co. are going to have to put their feet on the ground and take down Henry to limit this Titan offense.
Raiders Blog: What does the future hold?
Deablo could become the face of the Raiders’ linebackers for years to come. Perryman is currently hurt and in a contract year. If Deablo continues to show up and improve, the green dot will be his. His athleticism and versatility are something the Raiders haven’t had at the linebacker spot in years. The question is, can he rise to the occasion this season?
*Top Photo: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports