The Las Vegas Raiders remain in playoff contention and boosted their odds after a solid Week 8 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
The heavy winds played a part in holding the Browns to only six points, but that would discredit the job the defense did. Las Vegas was able to limit Cleveland to only 101 rushing yards and only allowed 122 passing yards from Baker Mayfield.
Johnathan Abram has been a massive addition to the Raiders secondary and has emerged as a budding star in his second year. According to Case Keefer of The Las Vegas Sun, Jon Gruden highlighted why Abram has been so effective during the 2020 season:
“He just has this presence about him,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said on Monday. “A playing style, a leadership, a playmaking we need. We feed off that, and it was obvious again yesterday.”
Gruden further explained that the safety is just scratching the surface and noted his infectious energy as a comparison to Rodney Harrison, one of the best safeties ever:
“He has a playing style that I like,” Gruden said. “I think I compared him to the ex-Charger, ex-Patriot great Rodney Harrison. He just has that physical gameday presence that we feel like we need back in this organization. He still has a long way to go to become a great safety, but I think he sees the splash plays that he’s capable of making and he brings us some leadership and energy that we really need in the back end.”
The Raiders took Abram No. 27 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft but did not get to see much of him in his rookie year as he suffered a shoulder injury in Week 1 that prevented him from suiting up the rest of that year. However, he has come back stronger than ever and has shown why Las Vegas was wise to take him when they did.
The Mississippi State product is a physical player who seems to relish contact, a trait that is both useful and damaging. Critics are quick to point that his style of play will lead to more injuries down the road, but so far it seems to only raise the level of intensity for the rest of the roster.
There is no denying Abram’s talent and it will be up to the coaching staff to ensure he reaches his potential.