As is usually the case in the preseason, all eyes were on the rookies. Luckily, the Raiders played every available rookie in this game. Of course, there is much more to be learned about all of these players, but these were the initial takeaways from week one of the preseason.
Battle for RB3 heats up
The story of the Raiders offense Saturday night was that of undrafted running backs. The two backs in question, Trey Ragas and B.J. Emmons, combined for 22 carries, 107 yards, and 2 touchdowns.
The two are very similar runners. They both lack great size but just compete like crazy. This was evident in both touchdown runs as Ragas powered through from the goal line while Emmons leaped over the top.
With the addition of Kenyan Drake, Jalen Richard may not make the team. In which case, one of these rookies deserves a roster spot. This will be one of the most exciting storylines to follow throughout the preseason.
Alex Leatherwood was solid
The presumed starting right tackle and first-round pick Alex Leatherwood showed well in his NFL debut. While far from perfect, he showed good quickness with his feet in the passing game while also dominating the run game.
Due to his physical profile, Leatherwood will always be a force on running plays. Simply, he manhandled the Seahawks backups in these situations. This certainly seems as if it will translate to a starting position in Week 1 as well.
Alas, the biggest concern with Leatherwood is currently his pass protection. While he was beaten a few times in pass protection, he didn’t give up any sacks. However, against more talented players he could’ve given up a sack in a few instances.
More than once he was knocked off balance but able to recover due to his length and the lack of talent across from him. However, he will be facing immensely talented players in Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens who will not allow him many opportunities to reset. Leatherwood has a chance to fix these issues before Week 1, and it’s paramount that he does so.
Nate Hobbs looks like the starting slot corner
Jon Gruden strongly hinted that this may be the case post-game. “There’s certain guys that bring juice, they bring something to the game that others, you just can’t explain it, [Hobbs] is into it all the time… he might be an opening day starter for us… We do like our fifth-round pick.”
In the game, Hobbs had a highlight reel sack where he came off the edge unblocked. A fine play, but an easy one for the fifth-round pick.
However, it shows the type of player he is. As a slot corner, he will have to be involved in the run game and he is very eager to do so. He even made the tackle on the defense’s first play of the game.
Hobbs is a toolsy young player who is full of energy and shows it on every snap. Not only may he be the most talented option, but his energy is also exactly what the Raiders defense needs,
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