Next Raiders DC Will Have Tall Order Polishing Johnathan Abram

Las Vegas Raiders safety Johnathan Abram has become a polarizing figure amongst Raider Nation this season. What does this mean moving forward?

Johnathan Abram needs to become an asset on defense

Abram is in many ways the fiery and spirited leader of the Raiders defense, you can see this in the games he didn’t play in 2020. His enthusiasm and energy are currently unmatched on the roster, unfortunately it takes more than that to be a good safety. Abram’s tackling can be devastating for opposing offensive players, but has shown a penchant for missing his target. His coverage was also a liability this season so you can see why he divides fans.

On one hand, it’s good to see a Raiders player give it his all, looking to punish their opponent. However, being an effective safety also requires knowing where to be on plays and knowing when to wrap a player and when to go for the kill shot. Abram’s current 31.4 Pro Football Focus coverage grade is very concerning and whoever takes over the Raiders defense will have his work cut out for them.

Related: What Route Should Raiders Take With The Guard Position?

Raiders will have to teach Abram how to harness his fire…

Abram currently has 82 combined tackles, three tackles for a loss, and five passes defensed. He’s the Raiders’ leading tackler but he’s also allowed 19 receptions. Despite his fiery instincts, ’24’ will have to learn how to harness his fire and maintain disciple.

He has six penalties this season, three of which are for unnecessary roughness and one for facemask. Van Malone, a former Mississipi State assistant coach recently spoke with Sam Gordon of the Las Vegas Review-Journal about Abram.

Malone elaborated that Abram’s the type of player that people want to control, but that his intensity which is out of control at times, is his strength. This may be true but in the modern NFL, you have to play with restraint and self-control. Now that the league is aware of Abram’s playing style, said disciple will be paramount in 2021.

Whether it’s Rod Marinelli or someone else, it will be up to them to get Abram to the next level. His pass coverage will have to become more refined as he hopefully evolves into the field general that the Raiders believe he’s capable of elevating to.

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*Top Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

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