Johnathan Abram Raiders “Second-Year Rookie” Shows Maturity, Focus

Evan Groat
Johnathan Abram raiders safety

Jonathan Abram Raiders safety shows his new perspective after his heralded rookie season was cut short early by injury.

When Johnathan Abram Raiders safety ended his career at Mississippi State to enter the 2019 NFL draft, he did so leaving Starkville with a reputation as one of the hardest hitting safeties in all of college football.

Last year, the Raiders were selected as the featured team on HBO’s Hard Knocks and we all got to witness first hand Abram’s enthusiasm for contact and physical play.

Unfortunately, that enthusiasm quickly turned to disappointment when in week one on Monday Night Football against the division rival Denver Broncos, Jonathan Abram Raiders season end as he suffered a torn labrum and rotator cuff.

Like a colt ready to run, Abram first needed to learn to walk.

Now, nearly a full year removed from the injury, Abram is excited to show off his new approach to the game in year two.

“I’m very excited to get back out,” said Abram about the start of the season. “I don’t think my biggest concern is rushing back to try to technically lay somebody out. More so just being smart this year, making sure that I’m available because the best ability is availability. So just making sure I stay healthy. Just being smart, being a smarter player this year is my biggest concern.”

Abram 23, sounds like a guy who has done some maturing over the last 12 months and that is a good thing for the Raiders.

Not only has Abram shown growth with his mindset but his head coach also sees big improvements on the field as well.

“I just think his understanding of the defense number one,” said Gruden. “Number two, I think he’s becoming a better communicator which you have to be on the back end. You gotta be able to recognize splits and formations and know the situation and communicate that to those around you. So I think his communication is better.”

Jonathan Abram raiders safety
Johnathan Abram Raiders safety at training camp this summer.

The improvement of the defense, in particular the secondary, will play a large role in the overall success of the team in 2020.

On paper, things look much better with a revamped linebacker room, led by Cory Littleton, and an ascending defensive line under the tutelage of one of the league’s best coaches.

If there is one area of concern you could point to a young and inexperienced secondary who will be tested.

“I don’t think experience has anything to do with it,” said Abram. “It doesn’t matter who is out there, five veterans out there on the field. If they don’t communicate, they can’t play fast, they can’t play well together. Communication is big within any form of the game.”

The confidence, swagger, and playmaking ability that Abram brings to the table will be much needed on defense which makes it even more important that he not only talks about being smarter but he actually follows through when bullets start flying for real.

While Raider Nation got excited due to Johnathan Abram Raiders “swagger,” it’s his maturity and focus on becoming a better football player which could be the bigger reason he becomes a fan favorite.