Raiders waive former 1st-rounder Johnathan Abram

HENDERSON, Nev. — The Las Vegas Raiders have waived former first-round pick Johnathan Abram, who has been a strong-safety starter since his call-up from Mississippi State in 2019.

But with a new regime taking over from the Raiders in general manager Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels, Abram lost his starting job to Duron Harmon in Week 8 of this season. Abrams special team snaps started to rise and he was rumored to have been bought in at the close, but to no avail.

Abram, ranked No. 27 overall in 2019 and the third of the Raiders’ three first-rounders that year, entered the league with a reputation as a fearsome hitter, though he often threw away friendly goals for teammates. His NFL career began with a season-ending shoulder injury sustained in the first half of his first game.

He was a noted player on the HBO training camp show Hard Knocks as a rookie, where he debated the correct pronunciation of “salmon” during a team dinner with quarterback Derek Carr, and was a favorite of former coach Jon Gruden and then-GM Mike Mayock.

Abram’s on-field performance also fell short of first-round expectations.

According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Abram has allowed the second-highest completion percentage as the next defender out of the 121 players who have logged at least 1,000 coverage snaps since 2019.

Abram also raised eyebrows by wearing the No. 24 for the Raiders, numerals made famous in the franchise by Hall of Fame defensemen Willie Brown and Charles Woodson.

He was also an outspoken player in the dressing room, but he’s been more reserved in recent seasons. At training camp that year, he said he had matured with age as he prepared for a new defense system.

“I mean, it always takes work,” he said at the time after Las Vegas declined his fifth-year option. “I had different coordinators in high school and college and up until now, so I just spent time on the script and watched the movie and saw how [defensive coordinator Patrick Graham] uses and applies the calls from the old system to the new system, just change the language and pretty much that’s it.”

Abram, who turned 26 last month, has three career interceptions and 11 pass defenses in 36 career games and 34 starts. He also had 255 tackles, with 9.5 stuffs and a fumble recovery.

With Abrams released, only 11 of the 23 players drafted in three years under Mayock, including two of six first-rounders, remain with the team. Raiders waive former 1st-rounder Johnathan Abram

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