As most Las Vegas Raiders fans are aware, Week 1 often leads to several overreactions, regardless of the result. After surviving a hard-fought win in Denver, several Raiders defenders had notable outings, perhaps none more impressive than Divine Deablo.
To say that Deablo was Sunday’s defensive MVP might be putting it mildly (no offense to Maxx Crosby). Making Deablo’s showing more noteworthy was how much criticism and negativity surrounded the linebacker group this offseason. Raider Nation clamored for a high draft pick to be used on the position or, before the NFL draft, for Dave Ziegler to spend serious coin on it. In the end, it was for naught. Deablo, for all intents and purposes, entered this season as the “go-to” guy. Boy, did he deliver against the Raiders’ hated rival and then some.
Divine Deablo’s 90.7 PFF coverage grade is a personal best by over 20 points and 3rd-best among Week 1 LBs
He also allowed 0 yards in coverage and had 3 coverage stops (t-4th)
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— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) September 11, 2023
Can the Raiders and Divine Deablo maintain this momentum?
By the time the final whistle blew, Deablo had accumulated nine tackles, including one for a loss. We can also add a pass breakup to that total. In terms of what Pro Football Focus says, Deablo was awarded an 84.5 overall grade, which was 8th among all linebackers. Of note too, Deablo’s lone TFL already matches last year’s total for the former third-round pick.
Even more impressive, as far as PFF goes, was the noted 90.7 coverage grade for Deablo. In order to gain such a grade, No. 5 allowed zero yards in coverage for the day. Again, this could just be an anomaly, but if you look at the tape, Deablo was flying all over the place. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham has his defense doing some fine tackling out there, which is great considering Week 2’s opponent.
Raiders fans will find out quickly how much Divine Deablo has truly improved against one of the best NFL offenses led by Bills quarterback Josh Allen. For now, let’s allow Deablo to enjoy this well-deserved moment.
*Top Photo: David Becker/Associated Press