Raiders Sign Ex-Lions DL, Send Rookie DB to IR

pj johnson

Getty New Las Vegas Raiders DL P.J. Johnson.

Earlier in the week, the Las Vegas Raiders brought in several players for workouts. Notably, the team worked out three defensive tackles in Braxton Hoyett, P.J. Johnson and Daniel McCullers. It appears that one of the three did enough to impress the silver and black.

The team announced on Wednesday that they’ve signed Johnson to the practice squad.

Johnson has been in the NFL since 2019 when he was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the seventh round. He eventually made his way to the Los Angeles Chargers where he spent some time on the practice squad. Notably, he was coached by defensive coordinator Gus Bradley during that time. Bradley has shown that he likes to bring in his former players to the Raiders.

Johnson has yet to play in a regular season game yet and could have a tough path to getting playing time in Las Vegas. Defensive line is one of the team’s deepest position groups. However, the run defense has been an issue for the Raiders. If Johnson can prove that he is a run stuffer, the team may end up having a role for him.

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Tyree Gillespie to IR

Tyree Gillespie

GettyTyree Gillespie of the Las Vegas Raiders.

In the 2021 NFL Draft, the Raiders selected three defensive backs in Trevon Moehrig, Tyree Gillespie and Nate Hobbs. Both Moehrig and Hobbs have become key contributors and starts while Gillespie has mostly been relegated to a role on special teams. That safety out of Notre Dame has only taken seven snaps so far this season and won’t be seeing more snaps anytime soon.

The Raiders also announced that Gillespie is headed to the Injured Reserve. Interim head coach Rich Bisaccia said on Wednesday that the team is hoping that it is just a short-term stint on the IR, which would keep him out for at least three weeks. Gillespie may have to wait until next season to prove that he can make an impact in Las Vegas.

Hobbs & Moehrig Shine for Raiders

The Raiders have struggled in the draft for years now, especially when it comes to drafting defensive backs. It looks like the team finally turned a corner in the 2021 draft as it looks like they found two gems. Hobbs has been a revelation as the nickel corner. Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus put together a list of the best rookies so far this season and rated Hobbs as the eighth-best of the bunch.

“Even after a hot start to the year, Hobbs was not above getting torched by Patrick Mahomes, just like the rest of his teammates Sunday night,” Renner wrote. “He yielded the most yards he’s allowed in a single game all season with 70.”

Not bad for the 167th player selected in the draft. Not to be outdone, Moehrig also made an appearance on the list as the 13th best rookie.

“Moehrig was seemingly the only member of the Raiders secondary who didn’t resemble burnt toast by the end of Sunday night football,” Renner wrote. “He continues to be reliable in a single-high role and came away with a pass-breakup on his lone target against the Chiefs.”

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