Entering 2022 Training Camp, Raiders.com will preview every position group and evaluate the players who will potentially make up the 53-man roster. Next up is the defensive backs.
When highlighting the returning members of the secondary, it's hard not to start with the immediate contributions the Raiders saw from their 2021 second and fifth-round draft picks Tre'von Moehrig and Nate Hobbs. The two were put into starting roles at free safety and nickel cornerback from the beginning of the season and didn't relinquish those roles.
Moehrig and Hobbs combined for 129 total tackles, nine pass deflections and two interceptions last season. They both also had above a 76 PFF coverage grade their rookie season. Hobbs believes that the two being thrown into the fire last season will be a big help going into their second seasons.
"Experience definitely breeds confidence," said Hobbs. "As a rookie, you got that first-hand experience out of the way, that was your first year. So coming back the second year, you start noticing little things, small things, details that take your game to the next level. I feel like me, Tre [Moehrig] ... we all got a better eye on us."
The two longest tenured members of the Raiders' secondary are Trayvon Mullen Jr., who was placed on PUP earlier this week, and Johnathan Abram. The duo has held down starting roles since they were drafted together in 2019. Mullen had 24 pass deflections and three interceptions in his first two seasons and Abram led the team in total tackles in 2020. Injuries are the only thing that have hindered the two recently, as they missed a combined 15 games last season.
Amik Robertson and Roderic Teamer both saw a decent amount of playing time last season and could serve as good depth pieces to the team, along with second-year safety Tyree Gillespie, who carved a role for himself on special teams last season.
After signing All-Pro edge rusher Chandler Jones, the Raiders saw an opportunity to bolster their young secondary via trade, acquiring Rock Ya-Sin from the Indianapolis Colts. In Ya-Sin's first three seasons as a Colt, he had 20 pass deflections and two interceptions.
"What I see from Rock is that he is a pro's pro," said defensive backs/pass game coordinator Jason Simmons. "I love the way that he prepares. You can tell that he's a guy that loves the game and a guy that wants to get better. So, I've really been impressed with him from that standpoint. He's another guy that is a sponge. He wants as much as you can give him and he's able to take that information and process it."
To replace some of the veteran leadership lost in free agency, the Raiders brought in safety Duron Harmon – who's won three Super Bowls with Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler in New England. Harmon has recorded at least four pass deflections and two interceptions over the past five seasons. Anthony Averett is another veteran depth piece added to the secondary who is coming off the best season of his career with 11 pass deflections and three interceptions, starting in all 14 games he appeared in for the Baltimore Ravens.
Darius Phillips could find a role for himself not only within the secondary, but as a return specialist. Last season with the Bengals, he had 346 all-purpose yards in kick and punt returns. Phillips was also second on the team in pass deflections (12) in 2020.
Cre'Von LeBlanc got his start in the league under defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, after the New England Patriots brought him in as a UDFA in 2016. He has played in 52 games (16 starts) in his career. NFL journeyman Chris Jones is going into his fifth season, with 29 games played among four teams. Ike Brown is the most recent addition to the Raiders' secondary after playing for the USFL's New Orleans Breakers, totaling 16 tackles and two interceptions.
The newest additions to the Raiders' secondary are rounded out with four rookie UDFAs in Sam Webb, Qwynnterrio Cole, Isaiah Pola-Mao and Bryce Cosby. Cosby was named first team All-MAC as a senior in 2020 and Cole was a two-time HBCU All-American at Alcorn State before transferring to Louisville his senior season.
View photos of the Las Vegas Raiders defensive backs heading into 2022 Training Camp.