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Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Divine Deablo hoping for standout sophomore 2022 season

Breven Honda

Last season, linebacker Divine Deablo came to the Las Vegas Raiders as a third-round pick in the 2021 draft looking to make a name for himself.

During his rookie season, Deablo played in every game — earning five starts, recording 22 solo tackles and totaling 45 on the year.

Almost half of those total tackles came in back-to-back weeks at Kansas City and against Washington late last year.

One of Deablo’s best moments from last year came against Cleveland when he was the first guy to get to Browns running back Nick Chubb on third-and-3 with 2:31 left. This forced a punt and led to a game-winning field goal as time expired.

Deablo, who continues to work on fighting through run blockers, did exactly that to find Chubb with the ball.

In addition, Deablo also had a nine-tackle performance in the team’s 23-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts that kept the Silver and Black in the playoff hunt.  

One thing that was different for Deablo was the position change he had to make from college to the NFL. He went from playing safety at Virginia Tech to being a linebacker in his first season with the Las Vegas Raiders.

  • Divine Deablo college stats (2016-20): 206 tackles (117 solo), 11 passes defended, 6 interceptions

The 23-year-old said switching positions from college to the NFL is an adjustment he continues to make, primarily with his awareness and positioning in the field.  

“So being at safety, I get to see the whole field. At linebacker, you have to look around more. You have to know what’s behind you. So, it’s tougher, but I’m getting a better feel for it.”

Las Vegas raiders’ Divine Deablo during Raiders training camp on Monday

From the new adventures the NFL brought to making the playoffs, Deablo went through a lot as a rookie last season.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders training camp and information

In addition, he continues to learn more about himself through the Raiders strength and conditioning staff by adding some weight.

After last year’s final preseason game at San Francisco, Deablo said he had to bulk up after he encountered his welcome to the NFL moment in his first game as a professional.

“I feel pretty comfortable, more comfortable than I was last year,” Deablo said. “I got whooped, especially last year in the first preseason game against the 49ers. But ever since then, I’ve been stepping up. Trying to improve every single day.”

Also read: Las Vegas Raiders have elevated expectations and new faces

Divine Deablo adapting to new Las Vegas Raiders teammates and coaches

Divine Deablo
Robert Scheer/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Now in 2022, Deablo is looking to take the next step as it includes more change with new players and new coaches.

With the level of play Deablo had last year, he is looking to have a stellar sophomore season not only through his actions on the field, but also off the field as he competes for a starting role.

“First, I’ve got to prove it out there on the field. I’ve to earn my spot. I’m still new to this linebacker position. I’m trying to grow every day and improve every day and that’s my only goal.”

Divine Deablo on competing for starting job

The only player that remains with him in the linebackers room is Pro Bowler Denzel Perryman.

The new additions at the linebackers position for head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler include Kyler Fackrell, Kenny Young and Jayon Brown. That’s in addition to undrafted rookies Darion Butler and Luke Masterson.

Related: 5 burning questions entering Las Vegas Raiders training camp

Deablo said everyone is learning the new scheme and the competition has risen with positive vibes as the Las Vegas Raiders enter their second week of training camp.

“They brought in a great group of guys all the way down to the two rookies and we’re all like brothers in there,” Deablo said of Ziegler and McDaniels. “We all help each other out and it’s a great room.”

Not only are there new players in the room, but there is also a new linebackers coach in Anthony Pierce, who spent nine years in the NFL with the New York Giants.

Deablo said he is adapting well to the new plays on defense as well as the new coaches on defense, including Pierce.

“It’s been great. He played in the league, played with a lot of legends and it’s nice picking his brain, learning from him. He’s a player’s coach so he knows what it’s like to be a player so I do enjoy that,” Divine Deablo said of Pierce.

“I love the new defensive coaching staff. It’s a lot of stuff they put in to put us in great spots and I’m excited for it.”