Finally, the NFL preseason has come to an end. As usual, the Raiders elected to play none of their big names in the final exhibition game against the 49ers. However, we got to see some of the rookies play, and even one rookie’s debut. Without further ado, here are the three biggest takeaways from the 2021 rookie class this week.
Divine Deablo’s Debut
The most anticipated part of this week’s game was the debut of third-round pick Divine Deablo. Unfortunately, things did not go exactly as planned.
Firstly, it was clear that the rookie was still learning his new position. A strong safety at Virginia Tech, he will begin his career as a linebacker for the Raiders. Although Deablo does fit the mold of today’s NFL linebacker, there will be growing pains initially. Truly, at times he just looked lost. He also got his “Welcome to the NFL” moment on Sunday. Early in the game, the 49ers called a run play to his side and Deablo had to face star offensive tackle Trent Williams head-on. Not surprisingly, Williams won that battle and simply tossed the rookie to the ground.
Deablo basically admitted that he was still adjusting to the NFL earlier this week, and even said “I have to work on attacking linemen.” The hope is that the Raiders will not have to throw him into the fire right away, so fans would be wise to be patient with the young linebacker.
Trey Ragas Has Another Good Game
The offensive star of the preseason for the Raiders, Trey Ragas may have secured himself a roster spot on Sunday. With Jalen Richard battling injuries all offseason, Ragas made the most of his opportunity. Against the 49ers, the young running back had 9 carries for 39 yards, an average of 4.3 yards a carry.
Was it enough to unseat Richard for third-string duties? We will just have to wait and see. One thing is for sure however, Ragas played his heart out this offseason and left it all on the field. He will get a shot somewhere if it’s not with the Raiders.
Nate Hobbs Doesn’t Even Suit Up
Perhaps the biggest story of the game was the players who didn’t suit up. While the Raiders’ first two selections, Alex Leatherwood and Tre’von Moehrig, didn’t even travel to the game, neither did fifth-rounder Nate Hobbs. One of the best players in the NFL this preseason, Nate Hobbs seems to have secured himself a starting job. Truly, it is rare to see a fifth-rounder get a game off. However, the Illinois product has earned himself a day off with his performances thus far.
The next time Las Vegas takes the field it will be for the real thing. Of course, the Raiders rookies have many positives to take from this offseason, but for guys like Hobbs, Leatherwood, and Moehrig, it is time to prove it for real. If the Raiders are to make improvements this season, they will be counting on it.
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