Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Nate Hobbs was selected on Day 3 of the NFL Draft. Jon Gruden and the Las Vegas Raiders chose Hobbs with the 23rd pick in the fifth round (No. 167 overall).
A three-star recruit in 2017, Illinois was Hobbs’ only Power Five offer. The 6-foot, 195-pound corner made the most of the opportunity, playing in 12 games as a true freshman, recording 48 tackles along with a sack and a forced fumble.
In four seasons with the Orange & Blue, Hobbs totaled 168 tackles (12.5 TFLs), three interceptions, and 18 passes defensed.
NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein had this to say about Hobbs:
Athletic cornerback with excellent combination of size and speed for the NFL game. Hobbs has plenty of experience in Cover 3 and press-man techniques. His size and length can be a major factor in wrecking contested catches but he rarely locates the football when phasing downfield. From zone, his foot quickness and athletic ability stand out, but his route recognition and instincts need to improve. His tackle strength is a big plus in his favor, but his game took a step back in 2020.
Hobbs had a sixth-round grade, so this isn’t altogether unsurprising. He’s the second Illini off the board, joing offensive lineman Kendrick Green, who was picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday. It’s the first time since 2016 Illinois has had multiple players drafted (Jihad Ward, Ted Karras, Clayton Fejedelem).