The past several NFL Draft classes of the Las Vegas Raiders have often been panned for their questionable choices in the first-round.
That didn't stop last year, with the drafting of offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood of Alabama widely being considered a reach.
That likely played a big part in Pro Football Focus giving the Raiders draft class last year an average C grade.
In looking back on every team's 2021 draft class, though, it's evident that the whole of the Raiders class made a big difference in the teams run to the playoffs.
Looking past Leatherwood's struggles, the Raiders were able to see valuable contributions right away from several of their rookies.
Safety Trevon Moehrig was an easy candidate to pick before the season, as he was considered to be a steal when the Raiders selected him in the second-round.
Moehrig went on to start all 17 games, recording 55 total tackles, one interception and six pass breakups.
His coverage ability was a standout trait coming out of college and it translated to the NFL early, with PFF giving Moehrig a strong 77.7 coverage grade as a rookie.
The biggest surprise of the Raiders class, and one of the biggest surprises to come out of the whole draft, was cornerback Nate Hobbs.
Drafted by the Raiders in the fifth-round, Hobbs was able to start early due to injuries in the Raiders secondary and never looked back.
Hobbs finished fourth on the Raiders in tackles, and had PFF's fifth-highest grade for a cornerback in the NFL last season.
With only those two, the Raiders already have two potential long-standing pillars of their secondary.
That's not even mentioning three other defenders the team drafted in the middle rounds last year: Linebacker Divine Deablo, pass rusher Malcolm Koonce and safety Tyree Gillespie.
None of those three got consistent playing time for much of last season, but each could have bigger roles this season.
Deablo is a favorite to be one of the Raiders' starting linebackers this year, and Koonce and Gillespie should each factor more as rotation players.
Already regraded as a B-minus, the 2021 Raiders draft class could end up being more fruitful for years to come.
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