Raiders make Johnathan Abram third 1st-round selection
Jonathan Bachman / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Oakland Raiders selected safety Johnathan Abram out of Mississippi State with the 27th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Abram was the Raiders' third selection of the opening round after drafting Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 and Josh Jacobs at No. 24.

The former Bulldogs standout is primarily a box safety who excels in run defense. He'll likely compete with former first-rounder Karl Joseph for the right to play alongside top free-agent addition Lamarcus Joyner.

Abram led Mississippi State with 99 tackles, three sacks, and two interceptions in 13 starts.

Prospect profile

School: Mississippi State
Height: 5-11
Weight: 205 lbs

Strengths

  • In-the-box thumper who plays with nasty demeanor
  • Good play recognition against run and gets downhill in a flash
  • Speed in pursuit and physicality to finish
  • Shows some upside as underneath zone defender
  • Brings added value as explosive blitzer from second level
  • Motor never stops

Weaknesses

  • Likely limited to box safety role in NFL
  • Can struggle to shed blocks in run game
  • Doesn't have fluidity for man-to-man or coverage
  • Needs to come to balance more often to avoid missed tackles

Bottom line

A potentially dominant run defender at the next level, Abram is a tone-setter who wins with play recognition, pursuit speed, and an ability to deliver some punishing hits on the ball carrier. While there's still value in such a player, especially one who can be reasonably expected to serve as a team leader, box-specific roles just aren't as necessary in today's game. Abram won't provide much in terms of coverage, so his third-down responsibilities will likely involve short-zone responsibilities and the occasional blitz opportunity from the second level.

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Raiders make Johnathan Abram third 1st-round selection
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