Former Raiders 1st-Round Pick Reunites With Derek Carr on Saints

derek carr

Getty Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr.

The current Las Vegas Raiders regime has shown little interest in players who were on the team before they were hired. Out of the seven first-round picks the team used under Jon Gruden, only Josh Jacobs and Kolton Miller are expected to be on the roster at the start of the 2023 season. 2019 first-round pick Johnathan Abram was cut during the 2022 season and bounced from the Green Bay Packers to the Seattle Seahawks.

He’s now going to get a chance on a fourth team. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Abram is signing with the New Orleans Saints.

Abram isn’t the only former Raider on the Saints. He’ll be reuniting with quarterback Derek Carr, who played with him for four seasons. Abram has suffered from notable coverage issues throughout his career and hasn’t come close to living up to his status as a first-round pick. He was a hard worker with the Raiders who wanted to succeed but was never able to put things together. He played well for the Seahawks but wasn’t good enough to get a second contract with them. Pro Football Focus had him as the 85th-ranked safety in the NFL last season so he’ll need to show some drastic improvement if he’s going to stick with the Saints.

Raiders Sign Jaquan Johnson

Heading into free agency, safety was one of the Raiders’ biggest needs. They have addressed the need with a couple of players. Marcus Epps was one of the free agents they brought in and weren’t done adding safeties from there. The Raiders announced that they have signed former Buffalo Bills safety Jaquan Johnson.

Johnson has been in the NFL since 2019 when he was a sixth-round pick of the Bills. He played in 60 games for the team, starting in four of them. He has two interceptions and two passes defended in his career. Johnson shouldn’t be expected to be a big difference-maker on defense but does have a lot of experience in special teams. He’ll be a good depth piece for the Raiders to have behind Epps and Tre’von Moehrig.

Marcus Epps Talks Joining Raiders

With Epps being the first notable signing the Raiders made this offseason, they likely have big expectations for him. The former Philadelphia Eagles starter is very good in the run game but still needs to work on his coverage ability. His style is similar to Abram’s but he’s a much better run defender. Though the Raiders had left Los Angeles by the time he was born in 1996, he is very familiar with the team as they still have a big following in his hometown of Burbank.

He’s excited about the chance to play for a historic franchise like the Raiders.

“I mean, it’s just a storied franchise,” Epps said at his March 16 introductory press conference. “I mean, legendary franchise, legendary organization, and that uniform is just a classic look.

“It’s one of those franchises that growing up as a kid, if I thought about as a kid, like, ‘Hey, you’re going to play for the Raiders,’ it’s like a surreal moment. So, definitely grateful to be here.”

Coming to the Raiders should be an easy transition for Epps.

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