As we work our way through the offseason, the roles begin to become clearer. One position that has come into question this offseason has been who will step in at nickel corner to replace the departed Lamarcus Joyner.
New defensive coordinator Gus Bradley offered some clarity on the
competition at the position.
“Right now there’s a lot that we put on that plate. At the nickel spot there’s a lot of guys that we rotate in there,” Bradley said. “Guys like [Nevin] Lawson has really jumped out. I think he’s a guy that has picked up really well on it. Amik [Robertson] has been playing in there. He’s done a nice job on the inside. The guy that’s probably really jumped out is [Nate] Hobbs; the kid from Illinois. I’ve been very impressed with him. He has a real good knowledge of the position. He has a learning curve and he’s really jumped out.”
Lawson is the veteran of the group. He is entering his third season with the team, having played mostly as an outside corner in dime packages. He may be lining up with the first team at the moment, but come the start of the regular season, someone else will have to step up because Lawson is suspended for the first two games for a PED violation.
Robertson was a fourth-round pick by the Raiders last year. They tried to transition him from outside to inside, but that transition has taken a bit longer than they’d hoped, so he’s getting another crack at it this year.
Hobbs was selected in the fifth round of this year’s draft. His best shot at getting on the field early is at the nickel spot and it sounds like he’s further along than Robertson was for training camp last year.