This week’s voluntary OTAs was one of the first chances Raiders rookies had to be around veteran Raiders and also new free agency acquisitions, and new Raiders safety Johnathan Abram was a little star-struck by playing alongside one of the veteran players Oakland brought in this offseason.
Crazy how @CoachJPruitt showed me so much film on this man on how he played with rentlesss effort & laid it all on the line every play. That it became the way I play.. Now to line it up with him is a blessing!✝️ pic.twitter.com/6dveAXvLx0— Johnathan Abram (@JohnathanAbram1) May 23, 2019
Lamarcus Joyner is in the #29 jersey in this picture next to Abram, and they appear deep in conversation. I had to do a little digging to find out when Jeremy Pruitt coached Abram, but it was in Abram’s freshman year at Georgia when Pruitt was the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator. Georgia coach Mark Richt was fired and new coach Kirby Smart did not retain Pruitt, who went on to become the DC at Alabama and now is the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers. Abram transferred to Mississippi State for the remainder of his college career.
Abram stood out as a small but hard-hitting safety with tremendous speed and playmaking ability, which is exactly what Joyner is as well. Joyner played safety at Florida State (which is presumably what film Abram was watching) and was one of the best and most dynamic safeties in the country when he was drafted by the Rams. Jeff Fisher, in his genius, used Joyner as a nickel corner, but it was Joyner’s return to safety in 2018 under Rams DC Wade Phillips that returned him to his former glory and made him such an attractive option for the Raiders in free agency.
One imagines Joyner will do all of the above for the Raiders, but it’s Abram who looks to become that game-changing safety now, and with his particular skill set there are very few players he would be better served to work with than Lamarcus Joyner.