Raiders signings: 3rd round picks Deablo, Koonce inks contracts

Kirk Kern
raiders signings
Jan 27, 2021; National defensive back Divine Deablo of Virginia Tech (26) drills during National practice at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, USA; Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The latest Las Vegas Raiders signings occurred Friday, with the announcement that the team has come to terms with third-round draft picks Divine Deablo and Malcolm Koonce. The signings come as players reported to Raiders pre-training camp today.

Deablo is a 6-foot-3, 226-pound linebacker out of Virginia Tech. He was selected 80th overall by the Raiders in the 2021 NFL Draft. Koonce is a 6-foot-2, 250-pound defensive end out of Buffalo who was picked by the team with the 79th overall selection. Both signed four-year deals.

Deablo appeared in 51 games with 39 starts during his career with the Hokies, totaling 206 tackles (117 solo), a half-sack, six interceptions, 17 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. As a senior in 2020, Deablo started nine games and earned first-team All-ACC honors after recording 55 stops (32), four interceptions and one fumble recovery.

A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., Deablo attended Mount Tabor High School, where he was a three-time Central-Piedmont 4A All-Conference selection and named All-Northwest conference as a senior. He was ranked a four-star prospect at wide receiver by ESPN.

Koonce appeared in 45 games with 19 starts during four seasons with Buffalo. Over his career, he totaled 100 tackles (61 solo), including 22.5 for loss, 18 sacks and four forced fumbles. Koonce’s 18 career sacks rank tied for sixth in school history. As a senior in 2020, he was named All-MAC First Team for the second consecutive season. He started all six games he appeared in, recording 30 tackles and leading the team with 6.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. Koonce also led the MAC with nine sacks as a junior in 2019.

A native of Peekskill, N.Y., Koonce was named second-team All-State and Journal News All-Star First Team as a senior at Archbishop Stepinac High School, while also helping lead his team to an undefeated season in 2015 and state championship.

Raiders signings adds depth to defense

Although Deablo played mostly safety in college, he was drafted by the team as a linebacker and is expected to compete for playing time, although he didn’t attend any of the offseason minicamps. Training camp officially opens July 27.

“I came to work,” Deablo said. “I want to be that linebacker that changes the game.”