Not many eyes were on Nate Hobbs before Saturday’s preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams but now he has the full attention of the Las Vegas Raiders fan base. The fifth-round pick out of Illinois has been impressive all throughout training camp and put on a great performance in his second preseason game. Hobbs had a tackle for loss, two pass breakups and an impressive interception.
Head coach Jon Gruden, who normally doesn’t do this for preseason games, gave the cornerback the game ball. In the week leading to the game versus the Rams, the two teams took part in two joint practices. Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey quickly became an antagonist for the Raiders. During Hobbs’ impressive interception, Ramsey was doing a sideline interview. The camera caught his reaction to the video.
Hobbs couldn’t help but troll Ramsey a bit over the video.
Hobbs is quickly making a name for himself and could take over the starting slot cornerback spot. He just appears to be a playmaker, which is exactly what the Raiders have needed.
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Hobbs Gaining Trust
Heading into training camp, nobody really expected Hobbs to compete for the starting slot cornerback slot. Veteran Nevin Lawson looked like the favorite for a while but he’s missing the first two games of the season due to a suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing substances policy. If Hobbs gets the nod while Lawson is out, he may not give it up.
He believes that the coaches are starting to trust him, which will bode well for his chances to start.
“Crazy. Something I’ll never forget,” Hobbs said after Saturday’s game. “I feel like I’m gaining the coaches’ trust. And they trusted me to play multiple spots. I feel like when guys go down, they can throw me at corner to fill in. It’s all about gaining their trust.”
Jon Gruden Praises Hobbs
The Raiders have struggled in the draft over the last few years but have found a couple of gems. Maxx Crosby, Foster Moreau and Hunter Renfrow are just a few of the late-round players who are making an impact in Las Vegas. It’s very possible that Hobbs is the next guy to be a steal for the team. Gruden is already a big fan of the rookie.
“I’m really proud of him. I’m really excited to see what he does in his future,” Gruden said Saturday. “We tried to summarize him a couple days ago: He has the ‘it factor.’
“He rarely makes the same mistake twice. He loves football, eats it up, and he’s one of the energizers of our defense. He’s walked in here and given us a lot of skills that we can utilize certainly.”
Obviously, we’ve seen players tear it up in the preseason only to disappear in the regular season. However, it doesn’t seem like Hobbs will be one of those guys. There’s a lot of opportunity in the Raiders’ secondary. If Hobbs can continue to impress, he’ll have a decent-sized role this season.