NFL Draft 2019: Johnathan Abram best Raiders value pick, Todd McShay says


The Raiders picked three times in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, and it's the last of the trio that ESPN's Todd McShay favors the most

With the No. 27 pick in the draft, the Raiders selected Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram. McShay calls Abram a "human torpedo," and he was the draft analyst's top safety in the draft. 

"The hard-hitting safety brings a lot of energy to the secondary and can be a defensive leader for this rebuilding defense," McShay wrote on Saturday.

Abram, 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, is known for his aggressive style. He totaled 195 tackles in three years in college -- 15.5 for loss -- and added five sacks. He has closing speed and ran a 4.45 40-yard dash at NFL Scouting Combine. 

Most importantly, he fits exactly what head coach Jon Gruden wants on his defense. 

"He's a competitor and fits what Jon Gruden is looking for in defensive assets," McShay wrote. "My top safety is going to be a very good NFL player." 

Gruden respects Abram's game so much he's already giving him a prestigious jersey number in Raiders history. When he toured the Raiders' locker room before his introductory press conference, a helmet with a No. 24 decal was waiting for the rookie.

The number has been worn by the likes of Fred Williamson, Willie Brown, Charles Woodson and most recently, Marshawn Lynch. 

“That means the world to me,” Abram said in a 1-on-1 interview with NBC Sports Bay Area on Friday. “I know I have big shoes to fill. There have been a lot of greats wearing that number like Charles Woodson and even Marshawn Lynch. He’s going down as one of the greatest running backs to ever play.

“The standard has been set. I have to uphold that standard.”

[RELATED: How Mel Kiper Jr. views Raiders' nine picks]

Abram joins a group of Karl Joseph, Lamarcus Joyner and Erik Harris looking for playing time at safety. The tenacity that Gruden and McShay saw should get him on the field sooner than later.

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