Raiders LB coach was 'shocked' at how much bigger Divine Deablo is this year

When the Raiders selected Divine Deablo in the third round of the 2021 draft, they knew he was to be a project. The former college safety was looked at as a linebacker from day one. But that transition doesn’t happen overnight. For some, it may never happen.

With the NFL transitioning away from traditional linebackers to ones who can drop back into coverage the majority of the time, having DB instincts and range is important. But it is still the linebacker position, which means they must have the size. to handle it.

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“I think where the game is today, I think it’s a lot of passing,” Deablo said last week. “I think it helped benefit me in that scenario. As far as running game, we do have to put on a little weight to take on these linemen.”

Entering his third season, it’s clear Deablo is right where he needs to be in that regard. So much so, in fact, that his physical growth caught his linebacker coach by surprise.

“He got bigger. When he walked in I was shocked to see the weight and mass he had put on,” Antonio Pierce said of Deablo.

That shock Pierce had was when Deablo showed up for OTA’s this spring. Since that time, Deablo has trimmed a bit so that he can keep the speed that he needs to cover tight ends.

“He understands his game is speed and he’s gotten better at playing linebacker and coming downhill,” Pierce continued. “What I’ve seen is a guy who’s more comfortable playing the linebacker position. He doesn’t look like a safety playing linebacker. He now looks like a linebacker. And he’ll continue to grow. I think each and every year in the league he’ll get better. He’ll see the game as a linebacker, and that will just make him a better football player.”

The Raiders will be relying heavily on Deablo as the longest tenured linebacker in this corps and providing the bulk of the coverage which will allow newly added Robert Spillane to focus more on his middle linebacker duties.

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Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

A Las Vegas Realtor since 2008. Mike has a wide range of knowledge around all things Las Vegas.

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