In 2017, the Raiders could not snare an interception, while last year they failed to cover. Now, the team completely revamped the secondary, looking toward tighter coverage and better results. With that in mind, FPC Raiders writers Ray Aspuria and Terrance Biggs sit down to examine the two newest additions, Johnathan Abram and Trayvon Mullen.
In a league built on coverage safeties, how would you use Abram?
The Enforcer, like Ann Anderson was with the Four Horsemen. He’s the defender you have roam the box and the middle because when he makes contact — he packs a wallop — it’ll make teams shy away from running crossing and short/intermediate routes in his patrol area. He’s a downhill kamikaze defender and packs the kind of punch that can leave ball carriers ruing the day they ran to his side.
If the Raiders deploy Abram around the line of scrimmage, that would minimize his flaws while highlighting his strengths. Abram loves to punish in the short/intermediate passing game. In addition, he thrives versus the run. With reckless abandon, he sifts through trash and makes his presence felt. The Raiders need the extra hand versus the run. As a result, they’re showing the utmost faith in the corners.
Despite giving Daryl Worley a second round tender, what does it say that the team drafted Mullen?
The team is serious about upgrading woeful back-end coverage. Gruden said the team needed more cornerbacks to compete with the likes of the Chiefs and the team went at that position like gangbusters in the draft.
The Raiders impotent pass rush was equal parts lack of talent up front and in the secondary. The new blood fits the scheme and if they are taught and coached properly, can cover receivers while pass rushers go to work. Coverage sacks were nary in Oakland and Mullen along with Isaiah Johnson give the Raiders two former wide receivers as cover men.
Granted, Worley plays the physical style that Guenther loves. However, Mullen can evolve in his more physical nature. Moreover, he possesses the twitch and agility that Worley doesn’t. In other words, Mullen will attempt to unseat Worley. If he can, the Raiders will employ a young starter and young backup, regardless of who wins.