One rookie for the Oakland Raiders that people need to start getting excited about is safety Johnathan Abram. The guy eats, breathes and sleeps football. He’s so crazy about football that he’s starting to annoy Jon Gruden, who is a notorious football junkie. Even though he’s entering his first year, he’s expected to start and be an instant leader for a young Raiders defense. Abram starting out strong will be incredibly important for the Raiders in 2019 because outside of Karl Joseph, the team had terrible play at safety in 2018. Luckily, he’s already starting to make plays during the early stages of training camp.
Johnathan Abram Makes Epic Interception at Practice [WATCH]
Well, it surely didn’t take long for Johnathan Abram to make an impression. At a drill in training camp, Abram popped out of nowhere to steal an interception away from starting QB Derek Carr on an attempted pass to WR Keelan Doss.
Abram getting an interception in practice is a double-edged sword because it looks great for him, but looks bad for Derek Carr. Hopefully, it’s more of a sign of how good Abram is going to be than it is a sign of things to come from Carr. The rookie out of Mississippi State is a noted trash-talker, so Carr’s going to want to avoid throwing balls that he catches as much as possible.
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What to Expect From Abram in Year One
Not everybody was on board with the Raiders talking Abram in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Luke Easterling at DraftWire thinks that Abram was one of the worst value picks of that first round. Regardless, the Raiders seem happy about their rookie safety and he should pair up nicely with Karl Joseph. Both safeties are bruisers that love to hit. Those two guys will probably put together a few memorable tackles during the season.
One of the exciting things about Abram is his ability as a leader. His energy and passion should bring a nice swagger to a pretty young Raiders defensive backfield. Jon Gruden noted that Abram still has work to do to be a good NFL player.
“[Johnthan Abram] is sharp, he loves football. You can’t get rid of the guy,” said Gruden. “He’s texting me, calling me – I’m gonna change rooms so he can’t find me. I love this guy. He’s an old school, throwback player and he needs to continue to refine his game. He’s gotta learn the NFL game. We’re confident in him.”
That’s strong words from the head coach of the team. Abram comes from top competition in the SEC and that should give him an advantage when it comes to catching up to NFL speed. The Raiders defense has been completely revamped in 2019, including the secondary. There’s still work to be done to prove that they can hang in the AFC West, but signs are pointing in the right direction. Look for young guys like Abram, Gareon Conley and Trayvon Mullen to start turning heads when the season rolls around.