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Divine Deablo Looking to Pick Up Where He Left Off

The Las Vegas Raiders' third-year linebacker Divine Deablo's success is critical to the defense's overall success.

Divine Deablo was leading the Las Vegas Raiders defense in tackles when he went down because of a broken arm last season. The talented linebacker tallied 74 tackles in eight games.

At the time of Deablo's injury, he had played in almost 90 percent of the Raiders' defensive plays. He's back and ready to make up for lost time.

"Unfortunately, injuries kind of shortened my year last year," Deablo said. "It’s year three already, and I just got to keep improving. Hopefully, I take a big step this year.”

Deablo came into the NFL as a safety, but Las Vegas felt he'd be a better fit at linebacker. When he broke his arm last season, Deablo spent his time off the field putting in countless hours learning as much as he could as he looked to transition from a safety to a linebacker fully.

Deablo believes it is impossible to finish growing as a player but is more comfortable as a linebacker now than he was in the past. 

"I'm continuing to learn every single day," Deablo told SI. "I took a lot of steps in the right direction and I feel like I am a linebacker instead of a safety." 

The Raiders defense has gotten faster at every level. Las Vegas' defensive backs' speed makes Deablo's speed at linebacker even more of an asset. Against the pass, Deablo is essentially another defensive back on the field.

Deablo recorded a 4.42 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine. It is rare for a linebacker to possess such speed. 

Against the run, the weight he's added this offseason will help improve his ability to endure the wear and tear of playing closer to the line of scrimmage. He was able to add muscle without losing his speed. 

"I feel like I can take on blocks well, being a little heavier when I take on blocks and keep my speed," Deablo told SI.

Team captain and fellow linebacker Robert Spillane has enjoyed his first offseason working next to Deablo. Spillane appreciates the mental and physical attributes the 6-foot-3, 225-pound linebacker brings. 

"I love working with Divine. He's a very smart player," Spillane said. "He's long and strong and fast. 

"He's a guy you want to play next to, somebody who you can trust and rely on. He's a leader of this defense, and I'm really glad to be working with him."

Coach Josh McDaniels and the Raiders have shown confidence in their linebackers heading into the season. 

Week 1 will be the first opportunity for the Deablo, Spillane, and Luke Masterson trio to show why. 

The Silver and Black open the regular season at the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Sept. 10, at 4:25 p.m. EDT/1:25 p.m. PDT.

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