Raiders: Johnathan Abram needs to succeed under Patrick Graham
Abram under the new regime
New defensive coordinator Patrick Graham plays a lot of two high safety looks. In the past, Abram has struggled in this scheme and was picked apart. However, Graham is known to put his players in the best position to succeed and has had players with Abram’s skills such as Jabrill Peppers, who have succeeded in the scheme.
Graham will be the most schematically sound defensive coordinator that Abram has ever played with. Under Paul Guenther, Abram was put in a high safety look for the majority of his snaps and really struggled and was left on an island, the opposite of his skill set. Under Bradley, Abram was put in a better position but was exposed in coverage still.
Graham will be able to identify Abram’s strengths and amplify them.
Patrick Graham is seen as a future head coach. His scheme will elevate its players if they buy in. Abram needs to continue to work with Graham to understand where he should be and when to attack.
After 3 seasons, Abram should be a more mature player who understands when to use his aggression and read offenses. Graham’s coverage scheme should also allow Abram to play more freely and feel supported. The rest of the Raiders’ starting secondary is full of good players who can support Abram and should provide some relief in coverage. Abram will only need to be a supportive player in coverage, rather than a player who has to cover 1 on 1.
The former Raiders regime was likely looking to replace Abram this offseason, but the new regime clearly has plans for him. The Raiders only brought in Duron Harmon as competition, but in minicamp, Abram worked primarily as the starting safety. Harmon is a solid player but has never been exceptional.
The rest of the 8 safeties on the roster are roster bubble players who likely won’t push Abram. Rodric Teamer and Dallin Leavitt both played extended snaps when Abram was injured and was fairly uninspiring.
Predicting which of the Raiders offensive skill position players will make the roster for the 2022 season include quarterbacks.
Trevon Moehrig is ready to turn into a star, but he needs Abram to fully succeed. Abram has never played under a coach like Graham, one who empowers his players and puts them in the optimal position to succeed. If Abram can’t succeed under Graham, he won’t be able to succeed anywhere. Abram will be motivated after having his 5th-year option declined and playing for a new contract. A motivated Abram could become a big-time player under Graham.