Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
5’11”, 205 lbs
2018: 99 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 7 passes defended, 2 interceptions
2017: 71 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 5 passes defended
2018 Second Team All-American
2018 First Team All-SEC
Johnathan Abram’s calling card is his violence and physicality. A two-year starter at Mississippi State, Abram was a team leader and one of the hardest workers on the team. He flies down the field and finishes tackles with violent intentions. Abram locked down Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson (widely considered the best tight end in the 2019 NFL Draft) during their match-up in the Outback Bowl. He powers through blockers as a blitzer, and was third in the nation in total pressures among safeties (16) according to Pro Football Focus.
Abram struggles in coverage when he is given the responsibilities of a free safety, such as playing single-high. He doesn’t have a complete feel for spacing and quarterbacks will attack him when he is out of the box. Abram’s violent style of play increases his risk of injury, and his shoulder was flagged at the Senior Bowl.
If used correctly, Abram is a huge asset to a defense because of his physicality and leadership. His violent tackles can fire up an entire defense, and he has solid pass coverage when he plays closer to the line of scrimmage. Abrams projects as the best strong safety in the 2019 NFL Draft, and is a similar player to former Colts star Bob Sanders. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah ranked Abram as the 23rd overall prospect from the 2019 NFL Draft.
Fit with Raiders
Abram could either replace Karl Joseph or play alongside him. Abram is a similar player but is younger and bigger. With Abram as a pure strong safety, there is a chance Joseph could move to free safety in Paul Guenther’s defense which doesn’t use pure free and strong safeties. Either way, he gives the Silver & Black a violent presence and leadership that can set the tone for their entire defense. Abram should quickly become a fan favorite with his intense style of play.