As of Saturday night, after the Raiders’ second preseason game against the Rams, Nate Hobbs had intercepted and ran away with the Raiders’ nickel corner job. With Nevin Lawson suspended for the first two games, Hobbs’s primary competition coming into camp was second-year man Amik Robertson. Not anymore.
Hobbs took home the game ball Saturday night while Robertson made a couple nice plays at outside cornerback. Head coach Jon Gruden has seen enough.
“[Amik Robertson] is a guy last year we tried to make a nickel corner and that’s a hard position as you know in this league with all the Jet Sweeps,” said Gruden Wednesday. “If that Jet Sweep starts on the right and jets to the left, there’s a good chance, you gotta bump into the box and be a linebacker. And I think Amik looked at that a little bit differently when [Richie] Incognito was blocking him in the box. But now as an outside corner, you see what he is. You can see the skillset that he has. He’s played better, he’s gotten more confidence. Not that he can’t be a nickel because he has worked in there, but he’s clearly at home on the outside.”
Robertson barely saw the field his rookie season as a fourth round project. Then Hobbs comes in as a fifth round rookie and quickly showed a feel for the position, both in coverage and as a tackler.
The question now becomes whether Robertson would still be the next man up behind Hobbs at nickel for the first two games while Lawson serves his suspension? Or could the Raiders tap Damon Arnette for those duties after seeing his starting job on the outside usurped by veteran Casey Hayward? Plenty of moving pieces that’s for sure.
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