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Rookies Stepping Up on Defense

Las Vegas Raiders defensive rookies are making an impact on every available opportunity.

The Las Vegas Raiders invested heavily on defense during the 2021 NFL Draft, and thus far it’s paying off.

Second round pick (43rd overall) safety Trevon Moehrig and the steal of draft, fifth round pick (167 overall) cornerback Nate Hobbs have made the most impact as starters this season.

Moehrig has solidified a starting role since day one, while Hobbs has surprised the entire NFL and taken the opportunity by the storm.

And last Sunday two more rookies made an impression on defense.

“We think Divine’s been coming on in practice all the time and getting a lot more reps certainly at the WILL linebacker. He had a chance to go in there and play for us for a little bit, and we had some injuries. We thought he did a good job, and he kept his role on (special) teams as well,” said Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia of linebacker Divine Deablo’s playing time.

“It was good to see Malcolm finally get up there and have a chance to make a play, and ends up with a good job on the sack, and he had some punt rushes as well,” Bisaccia added on defensive end Malcolm Koonce’s debut.

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While both Deablo and Koonce made the best of their opportunities, Coach Bisaccia expects their roles to increase with the injuries the Raiders are facing.

“Well, I think (Koonce) is practicing at a high speed right now and he’s getting pushed all the time. His opportunity to get dressed this week, with Carl (Nassib) being down, just gave him a chance to get out there and play some,” Bisaccia added. “You saw some of the speed that he has, you saw some of the explosion that he has and if you looked at the punt rush tape, he had a really good rush one time at the punt rush as well. So, we’re hoping this time of year those guys are starting to play a little bit more than they’ve played in the past, they can start to come on a little bit for us. So, we’ll see how it works out going into this week’s game.”

The Silver and Black have faced the next man up mentally plenty of times, but to see the motor and success of these players during their short opportunities is a great direction for the team moving forward.

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