Starters: Karl Joseph, Johnathan Abram
Backups: Erik Harris, Curtis Riley, Jordan Richards, Dallin Leavitt
Safety got a bit of an overhaul this offseason. The starters early last season for Reggie Nelson and Marcus Gilchrist. By midseason, it was Karl Joseph and Erik Harris taking the bulk of the snaps. Both playing well late to earn their snaps and a shot at starting jobs again in 2019. But help was needed.
Come free agency, the Raiders first added Lamarcus Joyner, though he is listed among the cornerbacks because his primary duty will be the nickel corner. But he can also play safety.
Soon the team added Curtis Riley and Jordan Richards to the mix. Both players are coming off their best seasons, though it was their only season as the primary starter. Riley started all 16 games for the Giants last season after two seasons as a backup in Tennessee. Richards is a former 2nd round draft pick. He started 12 games for the Falcons after three seasons as a backup in New England.
Those acquisitions would offer some insurance in case they were unable to find a safety they liked in the draft. Then they found the safety they liked at 27 overall with Johnathan Abram.
For the first few weeks of the offseason, it was Harris and Joseph working with the first team at safety. Near the end of OTA’s. once Abram got a handle on the playbook, he stepped in with the first team and remained there for minicamp.
Joseph looked great by the end of last season. Harris played well too. With Abram, Riley, and Richards — and Joyner able to step in at safety if needed — this team is extremely deep at the position. We don’t yet know what Abram will bring to the table, but he has loads of potential. No question this position is quite stable.
What condition do you think the Raiders safety position is in?
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