The Oakland Raiders shored up their safety unit by drafting Johnathan Abram this year but the question remains as to where will he line up.
While training camp is yet to take place this season there’s still debate as to where the Mississippi State product should play on the field, roam as a free safety or in the slot?
Pro Football Focus recently shared some numbers via Twitter comparing Abram’s play at both free safety and also playing in the slot as a strong safety.
— PFF OAK Raiders (@PFF_Raiders) May 29, 2019
Abram played a total of 740 snaps in the slots with a coverage grade of 79.4 and run grade of 75.2 according to PFF. In comparison when roaming as a free safety, Abram had a grade of 64.4 coming off a total of 385 snaps. A quick side note, Abram did have seven missed tackles.
Steve Palazollo of PFF said it best back in March when he analyzed Abram’s tape:
“When watching Abram on tape, he screams “strong safety” with his straight-line speed, short-area range and ability to pack a punch on ball carriers and underneath receivers. The data backs this up as Abram’s career grades when lined up at strong safety or in the slot are far better than his work when playing free safety.“
Training camp and preseason will help showcase where Abram will be best utilized by defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. Until then, Raider Nation can speculate where they think Abram’s skillset would allow for maximized production.