The Oakland Raiders made Johnathan Abram one of their three first round picks in April, and it looks like he is creeping up the depth chart.
With their third of three first round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders selected Johnathan Abram, a punishing safety out of Mississippi State. The Raiders defensive backfield has been a deficiency for many years, but with Karl Joseph and Gareon Conley stepping up in 2018, there is a positive outlook on the future.
In addition to Abram at safety, Oakland also drafted two cornerbacks in Trayvon Mullen and Isaiah Johnson late in the draft, making the defensive backfield a crowded one this summer. After starting out with the second-team during earlier OTAs, Abram was with the first-team on Wednesday, a sign of things to come at the position group.
Abram was joined by Joseph with the first-team, while Erik Harris and Curtis Riley worked with the second-team. The rookie out of Mississippi State is a guy who is not afraid to come up and make the big hits, much like Joseph, who had the same reputation when he came out of West Virginia prior to the 2016 NFL Draft.
During the offseason, the Raiders signed former Los Angeles Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner to a lucrative deal, but he has mostly been playing in the slot so far during the workouts. There is a good possibility that the starting defensive backfield could include both Abram and Joyner, with really only Conley written in pen in terms of a starting spot right now.
Obviously, it is still very early, but this is another one of those position battles we are going to have to keep an eye on all summer. Sure, the tandem of Harris and Joseph were solid towards last season, but Abram is a different kind of player, and will get every opportunity to start in year one.