Raiders Draft Johnathan Abram with Cowboys' Pick from Amari Cooper Trade

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 26, 2019

STARKVILLE, MS - OCTOBER 06: Johnathan Abram #38 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs celebrates during the second half against the Auburn Tigers at Davis Wade Stadium on October 6, 2018 in Starkville, Mississippi.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders selected Mississippi State strong safety Johnathan Abram with the 27th overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft Thursday.

The Raiders received the pick from the Dallas Cowboys in an October 2018 trade for wideout Amari Cooper.

Abram amassed 99 tackles (nine for a loss), three sacks and two interceptions during the 2018 season. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked him 27th overall and second among safeties on his final big board.

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com offered the following pre-draft scouting report, giving him an "instant starter" grade as well as a second-round projection:

Blunt force-striker with the measurables and play demeanor teams look for from a down safety with nickel linebacker qualities. Abrams did an admirable job in coverage in Mississippi State's scheme but might not have the anticipation and ball skills to hold up in extended coverage duties. Abrams shines as a physical run defender with pursuit speed and energy to play sideline to sideline. He grades out as one of the better options for teams looking to deploy an effective "big nickel" defender near the box.

Raiders general manager Mike Mayock was clearly enamored with Abram before the draft, per Vic Tafur of The Athletic:

Reaction to the pick was mixed.

On the positive end, Sirius XM Radio NFL insider Adam Caplan said Abram is "arguably the best safety for this draft."

Mike Jones of USA Today called Abram a "real physical, rangey big-hitting safety."

However, Evan Silva of Rotoworld criticized the move in addition to the other two Raider first-round selections:

Marcus Mosher of Raiders Wire offered similar sentiments:

Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports posited that Raiders head coach Jon Grudenand not Mayockwas calling the shots Thursday.

Perhaps there's debate on the Abram selection, but there is no doubting the prospect's high character.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network called Abram "a very high character player who teams loved," and Jane Slater of NFL Network offered one example symbolizing that notion:

Abram figures to start at strong safety right away alongside new Raiders free safety Lamarcus Joyner in the defensive backfield.

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