Las Vegas Raiders starters that could be benched in 2022
When the Las Vegas Raiders selected Jonathan Abram in the first round in 2019, the belief was that Abram would be the next in line of great Raiders safeties, a list that dates back decades. Abram was even presented with the number 24 jersey, a number worn by one of the greatest Raiders in history in Hall of Famer Charles Woodson.
What we have been treated to so far in the short career of Abram has not been much spectacular play. He is consistently injured and plays a very risky type of game that is based almost solely on huge hits instead of coverage of his man.
The former All-SEC selection was looked at as a “throwback” style of the player when selected, which may or may not have been the best idea. The league has changed dramatically throughout the last few seasons. The value of running the ball has been completely thrown out the window so to speak, meaning the passing game has taken large precedent to the point that the running game of today is nearly dead.
With penalties also called at a much higher rate in the backfield, the ability to just smash into your opponent is also of the past, which makes Abram nearly useless. He plays his best when he can fly around the field and thwart the opposing offenses from touching the ball. However, this isn’t 2002, and coverage is more valuable in the secondary than hard-hitting highlights.
The Raiders have been high as of late on last year’s fourth-round selection in safety Tyree Gillespie, and also added some much valuable veteran depth in safety Duron Harmon. Harmon was in the New England Patriots system from 2013-2019. And although he has moved around quite a bit since then, his familiarity with new head coach Josh McDaniels, as well as new general manager Dave Ziegler is very apparent.
Abram is surely the starter coming into the season, but he is a selection of the past regime. So the leash for his unpredictable play will be much shorter this season. With possibly an up-and-coming player in Gillespie and a solid trusted veteran in Harmon; it would not be the biggest shocker to see Abram head to the bench sooner rather than later.