On Saturday, the Raiders played a preseason game that was as exciting as it gets this time of the year. After the Rams missed a two-point conversion that would have taken the lead, the Raiders returned to Las Vegas victorious. Once again in week two, the rookies were the storyline and these are the three who stood out the most.
Nate Hobbs Shines Once Again
While he was one of the more unheralded players that the Raiders drafted this year, he has been the most impactful thus far. Getting the start at slot corner again, Hobbs made his presence known quickly on Saturday after destroying a screen play to force a fourth down.
Later in the game, the rookie would nab his first career interception on a terrific play down the field. As the rookie continues to play inspired football, it seems clear he will be a significant part of the defense in the regular season. When looking at the alternatives, Hobbs can be a huge plus for the Raiders.
There are many sights to see in Las Vegas, but Nate Hobbs has positioned himself as the biggest show in town.
Malcolm Koonce Shows Promise
After a week one showing where he was much of a nonfactor, Koonce rebounded in a big way Saturday. He even managed to notch his first career sack before it was taken away by a penalty. The sack was a nice display of the refinement he has shown since his days at Buffalo, as he was able to transition from a nice long arm move into a spin move.
Koonce would finish the game with 6 tackles officially. Overall, Koonce still has much to work on. But if he can provide even a slight jolt of pass rush in 2021, the Raiders defense will be much better off. So far, it’s arguable that he is already the third-best pass rusher on the team.
Undrafted Running Backs Take A Step Back
While the Raiders won the game, it was not all sunshine and rainbows on offense. Following a week in which Trey Ragas and B.J. Emmons carried the load, they did not do the same this week.
Ragas especially struggled. After having 13 rushes for 62 yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks, he would have just one yard on six carries against the Rams. He would get another goal-line touchdown, however. In the case of Emmons, he simply did not get enough chances with just eight carries for 34 yards. With 4.3 yards a carry, he deserved the ball more. At this moment, it appears as if Emmons has taken the upper hand for RB3 duties, but neither guy inspired confidence this week.
With one more preseason game to go, it will be exciting to watch these rookies perform again. While Hobbs and Koonce will certainly make the roster, keep an eye on guys like Ragas, Emmons, Dillon Stoner, and D.J. Turner. All four are fighting hard just to cling to the roster for week one. This weekend will be their final showcase.
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