The Oakland Raiders were dealt a crucial blow in the 2019 NFL season opener after rookie safety Johnathan Abram suffered a torn labrum and rotator cuff against the Denver Broncos.
Abram showed plenty of promise in his NFL debut by registering five tackles and a pass breakup in the 24-16 victory over the Broncos in Week 1. There had been little indication that he had suffered any sort of a setback.
Unfortunately, it hs since been revealed that the 27th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft is slated to undergo surgery and will likely miss the rest of the season. As a result, the Raiders are now scrambling to shore up some depth in the secondary.
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Oakland has reportedly brought in a number of veteran free agents for a workout to potentially help fill the void left by Abram:
Following a season-ending injury to S Johnathan Abram, the Raiders tried out veteran DBs T.J. McDonald, Kentrell Brice, Juston Burris and Briean Boddy-Calhoun.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 12, 2019
The Raiders have also brought in cornerbacks Coty Sensabaugh and Marcus Cooper for a workout, via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero:
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 12, 2019
Abram was not the only notable player to sustain an injury in Week 1. He accidentally collided with cornerback Gareon Conley that resulted in a head/neck injury for his teammate. Although head coach Jon Gruden is optimistic about Conley’s status moving forward, it appears the Raiders are still doing their due diligence.
Oakland has put an emphasis on fortifying their secondary in recent years and they solidified that notion by cashing in on Abram with their trio of first-round picks. The onus will now fall on the team to find some suitable depth to help maintain the standards that this defense set in the season opener.
Headlining the crop of potential replacements over the top is T.J. McDonald. The former USC standout has spent the bulk of his career with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams before his brief tenure with the Miami Dolphins came to an end this offseason. Meanwhile, safety Kentrell Bice failed to make the final cut with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Safeties Juston Burris and Briean Boddy-Calhoun are both looking for a fresh start following their brief tenures with the Cleveland Browns. It appears they will now be competing with each other for one of the back-end spots on the roster.