One of the most surprising developments from this season is the play of the secondary. For the past several seasons, it’s been their Achilles’ heel as they were among the worst pass defenses in the league. Now, it’s suddenly a strength.
Casey Hayward was signed after the draft, but he has been a rock-solid cornerback for the past few years. However, he is having arguably the best year of his career and is currently Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 ranked cornerback. He has been everything they had hoped for and more when they brought him in via free agency.
Hayward thriving in Gus Bradley’s scheme isn’t shocking. But it’s his play combined with rookie Nate Hobbs that is the most impressive. Together, the two undersized cornerbacks have not allowed a single touchdown yet this season.
Most coverage snaps without allowing a TD:
Casey Hayward – 258
Nate Hobbs – 246
The Raiders have a duo pic.twitter.com/gQXKsSTCoq
— PFF (@PFF) October 25, 2021
The hope is that the Raiders can get Trayvon Mullen back after the bye week and have their secondary full intact once again. With Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue wreaking havoc upfront, it makes the job for the cornerbacks that much easier.
Defense is all about the unit playing together. And so far, they are playing complementary football this season. Heading into the team’s Week 8 bye, the Raiders have to be feeling really good about their progress on that side of the ball this season.