The transition from safety to linebacker can be challenging for only any player. The Las Vegas Raiders tried this previously with Tanner Muse, who still hasn’t played a down in the NFL. He never could adapt to his position and ended up a terrible third-round pick.
The Raiders decided to repeat the experiment last season, drafting Divine Deablo out of Virginia Tech. Deablo played safety in college and was asked to become a full-time linebacker. However, his transition was successful as he helped the run defense later in the yeah. Deablo ranked fourth in run defense grade according to PFF and 2nd in missed tackled percentage among rookie linebackers in 2021.
It has caught the eye of Antonio Pierce, who wasn’t a lousy linebacker himself. The former NFL champion sees Deablo making a quicker adaption than the average player making the switch.
“That transition is never easy. Everybody thinks you can just go in there and play; but your eyes are trained differently. I think he’s done an outstanding job of not just training his eyes, but communicating, being a more vocal player. We’ve asked him to do a lot, he’s done a lot. He’s embraced that, and obviously he has a skill set that’s very important to our defense. The things he can do being able to cover, run and the pressures. The growth of him has been pleasant so far.”
Deablo had an excellent game and showed his ability to play the run. He recorded two defensive stops and didn’t miss a tackle on the day. The former third-round pick taking the next step could catapult this defense to another level.
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