The Green Bay Packers officially claimed safety Johnathan Abram off of waivers on Thursday. He will wear No. 44 with the Packers.
What are the Packers getting in Abram, a first-round pick in 2019 who was released by the Las Vegas Raiders this week?
Brandon Carwile of Packers Wire dove into his potential fit here. He sees Abram as an in-the-box safety or nickel linebacker. Think Josh Jones 2.0.
Overall, Abram (5-11, 205) is an experienced (36 games, 34 starts) and physical safety who will probably help immediately on special teams.
“He can run, he’s a physical player,” special teams coach Rich Bisaccia said Thursday.
At the NFL Scouting Combine in 2019, Abram ran the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds, hit 33.5″ in the vertical leap, covered 9-8 in the broad jump and completed 16 reps in the bench press. His Relative Athletic Score as a safety is 7.01, a mostly average score brought down by below average height and explosiveness.
Marcus Mosher of Raiders Wire helped provide the rest of the scouting report.
“He’s a pretty physical tackler. But not someone you want in space or in man-to-man coverage. He does have a pretty good feel for how to blitz and isn’t afraid to mix it up with much bigger players. His best role is probably as a No. 4 safety and a core special teams player. But the Raiders were forced to play him due to his first-round status,” Mosher told Packers Wire.
Over his four seasons with the Raiders, Abram played 2,282 total snaps. He produced 63 “stops,” or a tackle constituting an offensive failure, but also missed 42 tackles. In coverage, he’s allowed 76.5 percent completions and 11 touchdowns with a passer rating of 118.0. He also committed nine penalties, including three unnecessary roughness penalties in 2020.
In terms of alignment, Abram played over 1,000 snaps in the box or on the edge, highlighting his ability against the run and as a blitzer.
Abram has also played over 200 snaps on special teams.
Any optimism about a career revival in Green Bay?
“I think a change in scenery and expectations could do him well,” Mosher said. “A small role on defense plus special teams is how he could resurrect his career.”
It’s possible the Packers could experiment with subpackages that have Abram in the box in nickel, or with Abram at safety with Darnell Savage down in the slot. Bisaccia, his former coach in Las Vegas, will also eventually work him into groups on special teams.
Abram has one year left on his rookie contract. He’ll be a free agent following the 2022 season, meaning the Packers have eight regular-season games to see what they have in the 2019 first-round pick.