Johnathan Abram may have been the last of Mississippi State’s three defensive players taken in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft but it appears he is the first to make a real impact on his new team’s defense.
The 27th overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft is already running with Oakland’s first-team defense and has made a real impression on his new defensive coordinator, Paul Guenther.
“He’s smart,” Guenther said of Abram, according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “He’s real smart. From a rookie player, with all the stuff safeties have to know, he’s on top of it each and every day. So it’s good to have him. When you’re back there, as I stand at the back of the defense, I hear him communicate. He doesn’t sound like a rookie player. He sounds like a veteran player.”
Based on these reactions, it’s no wonder the offensive-minded Jon Gruden was so excited to draft the defensive back in April.
But it isn’t just Raider coaches that are impressed with Abram, even the team’s veteran players have noticed the impact the rookie from Mississippi State has made on the team’s defense.
“He’s an alpha,” defensive back Lamarcus Joyner said of Abram. “He just has to slow it down. He’s ready to go. He’s been an alpha all of his life, and I told him that you just have to think, keep your feet on the ground and let things come to him.”
With Abram penciled in to start in the opener for the Raiders, there’s a good chance the team picked up one of the leading contenders for Defensive Rookie of the Year late in the first round of the draft. Not bad for the 27th overall selection in the draft.