In a whirlwind Day 2 frenzy, the Las Vegas Raiders predictably — and wisely — concentrated on defense in the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft.
After scoring big on a falling TCU safety Trevon Moehrig at No. 43, the Raiders took Buffalo pass rusher Malcolm Koonce at No. 79, and selected took Virginia Tech tweener linebacker/safety Divine Deablo at No. 80.
Double the damage. #RaiderNation— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) May 1, 2021
Malcolm Koonce x @DeabloDivine pic.twitter.com/KX6A9rpqtl
Here are some thoughts on the choices:
What to expect from Koonce:
He is a pass rusher who had 14 sacks in 19 college games. The Raiders will develop him without much pressure because they have Yannick Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby. If he is ready to make an impact in 2022, great. Ngakoue and Crosby are both under contract for just two years. So this was a wise investment.
What to expect from Deablo:
He started at safety and played linebacker at the Senior Bowl. The Raiders will probably see where he best fits, sort of like fellow tweener third-round pick Tanner Muse last year. I think Deablo’s fastest way to the field is through special teams.
Was Koonce a reach?
There were several pass rushers on the board at No. 79 but the Raiders went for Koonce. Many people around the league thought he’d go much later because he probably projects as a situational player. Time will tell.
Pressure on Johnathan Abram?
If Deablo, a big hitter, gets up to speed fast and Abram, a first-round pick in 2019, continues to struggle in coverage and with on-field discipline, perhaps the Raiders could consider making a switch at strong safety at some point.
Both former rugby player Koonce and Deablo are fast and seem to fit the system of new Las Vegas defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. The coach has pull like a lot of Jon Gruden assistants.
Koonce is the piece the Raiders got in the Rodney Hudson trade. Earlier this offseason, Las Vegas sent the star center and a seventh-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for the No. 79 pick.
Koonce joins former Buffalo pass rushers Khalil Mack and Trevor Scott drafted by the Raiders.
Virginia Tech guy:
The Raiders were connected to first-round picks Christian Darrisaw and Caleb Farley from Virginia Tech. Yet, they finally took a Hokie in the form of Deablo.
Nice work, Ingold:
Raiders’ fullback Alex Ingold announced the two third-round picks. While doing so he honored the late, great Willie Brown by echoing Brown’s tradition of saying “Happy Mother’s Day” to all the moms out there. Pretty cool moment.
For now, the Raiders have four picks on Saturday: No. 162, 167, 200 and 230.