The Las Vegas Raiders have made some major moves this offseason and look to take a major leap and build off the success of last year’s playoff appearance. But there are still a couple of unknowns on the roster, and one of those is the secondary, particularly the cornerback position.
The team’s top cornerback last year, Casey Hayward, is now with the Atlanta Falcons, so others will need to step up. Last season one of the most unexpected surprises was the play of rookie cornerback Nate Hobbs, who totaled 74 tackles, three passes defensed, one interception, and one forced fumble. Overall, he graded out as one of the best slot corners in the entire NFL last year, but Hobbs could find himself needed in different areas with a new coaching staff in place.
But that is no problem as far as Hobbs is concerned, as he expressed the willingness to play wherever the coaching staff needs him to in an interview with Sam Gordon of the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
“Right now, I play where the coaches want me to play, honestly. I can be that flex guy. I can do whatever they ask me to,” Hobbs said.
“That’s where my mind is.”
This is very important and a great thing to hear from Hobbs, who will be massively important to the Raiders’ defense. In addition, the team made a huge addition to its defensive line, with Chandler Jones joining Maxx Crosby to form a potentially elite pass-rushing duo. This, of course, could lead to some excellent opportunities for the secondary, and they will need to be ready to take advantage.
As it currently stands, 2019 second-round pick Trayvon Mullen and former Indianapolis Colt Rock Ya-Sin join Hobbs as the Raiders’ top corners heading into training camp. Unfortunately, these three have a combined seven interceptions between them, so there is some reason for the cause for concern.
But Hobbs’ mindset is precisely what is needed to ensure the best chance for success. Without that one true lockdown corner on the roster, the group will have to come together and be better as a whole than the individual parts. Hobbs’ growth and ability to fill any role in the secondary may be a massive key to the team’s success this season.
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