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Raiders’ 4th-year pro labeled the ‘most talented safety in football’

Maybe it was Rob Ryan’s way of trying to push a young player from good to great. Or maybe the Raiders’ senior defensive assistant truly believes what he said about Tre’von Moehrig.

Either way, Ryan’s effusive praise raised eyebrows.

“Tre’von is the most talented safety in football,” Ryan said, to the surprise of just about everyone listening.

The shock wasn’t a knock on Moehrig, the Raiders’ 2021 second-round pick from Texas Christian University. The safety has played well in trying circumstances. He had to learn two different defensive schemes his first three NFL seasons, but it didn’t stop him from becoming a solid contributor.

Still, it’s one thing to be an ascending player on a good defense. It’s another for an experienced defensive coach like Ryan to see potential greatness.

Even Moehrig seemed a little taken aback by Ryan’s words.

“It means a lot, man,” Moehrig said, smiling.

More growth coming?

The Raiders hope Moehrig proves Ryan right.

They’d also be satisfied if Moehrig just built off his strong season last year, when he finished with 83 tackles, three interceptions and two sacks.

The website Pro Football Focus ranked him as the NFL’s 30th-best safety. It’s not out of the question that Moehrig could still improve even more given his skill set. Plus, he should be even more familiar with what defensive coordinator Patrick Graham wants from him in their third season working together.

Moehrig and fellow safety Marcus Epps looked sharp in the Raiders’ organized team activity practices and mandatory minicamp. The two should anchor a defense that could take another leap after allowing the ninth-fewest points in the NFL last season.

“Our game plan, what we try to get done, our approach to things, it’s just more consistent,” Moehrig said. “So, having that consistency, it helps us a big amount and just our calls and how we operate just knowing the system, knowing our players.”

There isn’t just one thing Moehrig is hoping to improve on his fourth NFL season. He wants to be well-rounded and do whatever he can to help the team.

“Shoot, I can improve in every aspect,” Moehrig said. “So I’m just going to try to go out there and be the best player I can be, whether that be communication, my play style, getting my hands on the ball. Hopefully, we can do all those things this upcoming season.”

Finding a mentor

Epps’ addition in free agency in March 2023 helped Moehrig’s growth.

Epps relays the defensive call to the secondary and makes sure everyone is lined up correctly. That frees Moehrig up to just focus on mastering his own assignment.

“Epps is just that guy, that gritty guy,” Ryan said. “That gym rat that makes everybody better.”

The set up led to Moehrig looking a lot more comfortable and confident last season. He also found a mentor in Epps.

“Man, I think just our relationship off the field (helps), too,” Moehrig said. “Always hanging out, picking each other’s brains. And then when we come into the building, same thing. Trying to just communicate everything we see to each other, just to help us play fast.”

The Raiders hope the two will develop even more chemistry their second season together. That could go a long way into making Ryan’s compliment for Moehrig ring true.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

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