The Las Vegas Raiders have two hard-hitting safeties in Karl Joseph and Johnathan Abram, and that is going to be a serious battle this summer.
After a solid 2019 season with the then-Oakland Raiders, Karl Joseph made the decision to head to the Cleveland Browns via free agency. For Joseph, he had finally become a player that the franchise could rely on, but with Johnathan Abram ready to step in full time in 2020 after an injury, he was deemed expendable.
Well, Abram struggled in a big way in 2020, showing flashes of being a first-round talent, but also looking out of place way too much. In 2021, he is going to be expected to come in and be the player we saw flashes of in Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season, because if he does not, Joseph will be waiting to return to the starting lineup.
We have already listed Abram as a player who needs to step up in 2021 if the Raiders are to make the playoffs, but serious questions surround him entering the summer. Does he have the talent to be a difference-maker on defense? Absolutely, but he needs to show he can play good football consistently.
Raiders attacked the safety spot this offseason
While Abram and Joseph will battle it out for who the starting strong safety will be, there is no doubt that rookie Trevon Moehrig is going to start as the free safety if healthy. The Raiders traded up in the second round to select Moehrig, and he is the perfect free safety for Gus Bradley’s defense.
Also, the Raiders used a fourth-round pick on Tyree Gillespie, who has the ability to play both free and strong safety. One name to keep an eye on is Shaun Crawford, who played at Notre Dame for six years, and I believe could make the team as a depth safety, and contribute in a big way on special teams.
Finally, there is always Dallin Leavitt, who is left off everybody’s 53-man roster heading into cuts, and somehow stays with the team.
The Las Vegas Raiders are counting on former first-round pick Johnathan Abram in 2021, who will need to step up to keep his starting job.
If Abram looks lost in the summer and fails to impress during the preseason, there is no reason why Gruden won’t make the move to Joseph. Kujo played very well under Gruden before leaving for Cleveland, and for a head coach looking to finally get back to the playoffs, he is going to play the guys who put him in the best position to win.