USC Safety Isaiah Pola-Mao has chance to learn behind rising NFL Safety with Raiders

Isaiah Pola-Mao, USC Trojans, USC Football
Isaiah Pola-Mao, USC Trojans, USC Football / James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Pola-Mao was very strong at free safety for the USC football program in 2019 and 2020. He played in every single game (which was a total of 19 games), totaled 113 tackles, picked off five passes, recorded seven PD's, had eight tackles for loss, and recovered three fumbles.

He was set to have a great year, but struggled in his fifth and final year with the program (57 tackles, no picks, 1 PD, one fumble recovery). Still, he entered the 2022 NFL Draft. While it was telling that no NFL General Manager wanted to take a chance on him with a draft pick, the Las Vegas Raiders did sign him onto the team as an undrafted free agent.

While the Raiders do have a decent secondary that allowed 222.9 passing yards per game in 2022 (13th in football), Pola-Mao has the chance to return to the Pola-Mao of old regardless of if he sees the field a lot in Year 1.

He'll be playing behind starting Raiders Free Safety Trevon Moehrig. While Moehrig, who had a promising rookie campaign last year, will easily be the starter over Pola-Mao or anybody on the team, it serves as an opportunity for IPM to learn behind someone who has been there and done that himself as a rookie.

Ex-USC Football Safety Isaiah Pola-Mao has secured a great opportunity to learn behind Moehrig.

A TCU product, Moehrig logged 55 tackles for the Raiders last season while also picking up six PD's in all 17 games. He started all 17. If Isaiah Pola-Mao has the chance to learn behind another young safety who has already made a nice progression to this point himself, he could do a lot worse.

IPM better study Moehrig, who had a top ten PFF pass coverage grade (75.5) last year among safeties with more than 1,000 snaps:

He only surrendered 158 passing yards and just one score on 18 targets. Getting the chance to watch and learn from a quality starter in the NFL is one that not all undrafted free agents get.

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At this point, it's up to IPM to go ahead and pick his brain, ask questions, and be a student of the game now that he'll have real NFL coaching. He certainly was poorly coached in college, and now has the chance to grow under a higher level of teachers at the next level.