Rookie Review: Moehrig, Deablo, Hobbs led Raiders Draft Class in 2021

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The 2021 regular season has come to an end and the Raiders have officially made the playoffs. Let’s take a look at how their 2021 draft class fared this season.

Round 1, #17 overall: RG, Alex Leatherwood

After being a much-maligned first-round pick, Leatherwood started the season at right tackle for the Raiders. His first four games went about as bad as anyone could have imagined. Leatherwood gave up five pressures and two sacks against the Ravens, got injured against the Steelers, gave up six pressures against the Dolphins, and five against the Chargers.

After moving to right guard in Week 5, he began to fare slightly better, but still struggled mightily. Leatherwood finished the season with 65 pressures allowed, the worst mark in the league, and finished second-worst in PFF pass-blocking grade. The rookie showed some flashes down the stretch of the season, but he’ll have to put in a lot of work in the offseason to avoid being a first-round bust.

Round 2, #43 overall: FS Tre’von Moehrig

Moehrig, a free safety out of TCU, was a revelation for the Raiders this season playing the Earl Thomas role in Gus Bradley’s Seattle Cover 3 scheme. Starting every game for the Raiders this season, he only allowed nine catches into his coverage. He also finished with five forced incompletions and an interception on the year. Arguably the best rookie safety in the league this season, Moehrig looks like a key building block for the future of this Las Vegas defense.

When asked about switching from college to an NFL season, Moehrig responded confidently.

“I’m having fun, and it’s gone by pretty quick. But I’m loving it. No rookie wall yet, hopefully, I don’t think it will come.”

Round 3, #79 overall: EDGE Malcolm Koonce

Koonce wasn’t able to find the field early in the season sitting behind the likes of DEs Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngaukoue, but he did get some playing time later on with some rotation snaps. Getting 48 snaps through four games, he was able to record four pressures and two sacks. However, he struggled mightily in run defense. Koonce will have another year to learn on the bench next season, and he has a chance to be Yannick Ngaukoue’s eventual successor opposite Crosby.

Round 3, #80 overall: LB Divine Deablo

Deablo was an athletic project out of Virginia Tech that the coaching staff decided to move from safety to linebacker as a rookie. After struggling in limited playing time against the Dolphins, Deablo didn’t see the field much again until Week 13. However, once he got on the field, he couldn’t be kept off of it, in large part due to his value as a run stuffer.

In just those six games, Deablo recorded 11 run stops, shoring up a linebacking corps that had struggled in run defense for most of the season. Deablo still needs to work on his pass coverage (he allowed a 112 passer rating into his coverage this year) but his athleticism and instincts bode well for his future on this team.

Round 4, #143 overall: S Tyree Gillespie

Gillespie, a safety out of Missouri, wasn’t really able to find his way on the field this season, only playing 13 snaps on defense and dealing with injury throughout the year. He was a key member of the special teams unit for the Raiders, but he’ll hope to compete with Johnathan Abram for playing time at strong safety in 2022.

Round 5, #167 overall: CB Nate Hobbs

Hobbs was a player almost no one expected to play a key role this season. However, he was able to win the starting slot corner job in camp and rolled with it. Hobbs was very good in coverage but also brought a lot of value in the run game, recording 23 run stops, good for fifth-best on the team despite playing in the slot. Unfortunately, a damper was put on Hobbs rookie season after he was arrested for a DUI a week before the end of the season.

Round 7, #230 overall: C Jimmy Morrisey

Morrisey didn’t make the team during camp and was added to the practice squad. He was signed by the Texans before their Week 9 matchup with the Dolphins and ended up starting four games for the team. He finished the season with a 46.4 PFF Grade.

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