Yesterday, after failing to find a trade partner, the Las Vegas Raiders cut former first-round safety Johnathan Abram. According to reports, the Raiders were shopping both Abram and fellow 2019 first-round selection Clelin Ferrell, but, after being unable to find trade partners, Vegas opted to cut ties with the former No. 27 overall pick Abram, while keeping Ferrell on the roster.
Abram wasn’t bad, and after being cut he was promptly claimed by the Green Bay Packers, but he wasn’t good enough to warrant the Raiders keeping him around. Through three-and-a-half seasons in the NFL, Abram played in 36 games (started in 34), recorded three interceptions, and 255 total tackles.
Abram’s release puts a cap on the latest of a surprisingly long line of Raiders first-round busts. Between 2019 and 2021, the Raiders had six first-round draft selections. Currently, there are only two that are still on the Vegas roster, and only one — Josh Jacobs (2019) — is actually seeing considerable playing time. The other, Ferrell (2019), has seen only 221 snaps throughout all of 2022. For perspective, teammate and fellow edge rusher Maxx Crosby has played 501 defensive snaps this year.
This stretch of dreck is obviously devastating to the Raiders, but where there is misery, there is also opportunity. You see, last season the Los Angeles Rams showcased a strategy for success, namely, trading all of your picks in order to obtain players who can help you win right now. The Rams haven’t had a first-round draft pick since taking Jared Goff No. 1 overall in 2016. They also haven’t drafted well. Tutu Atwell has one career catch. He was their first draft pick in 2021 (taken in the second round). Cam Akers was their first pick in 2020. He’s practically disappeared in the Rams’ offense. The most talked about Rams draft pick from the 2022 is running back Kyren Williams. He hasn’t been talked about because he’s good, but because he might be the lead back when he returns from the IR. The only impactful draft picks the Rams have made since 2017 are maybe Joe Noteboom, maybe Taylor Rapp, maybe Jordan Fuller, and maybe Van Jefferson. Yet, prior to their massive falloff this season, the Rams were perennial Super Bowl contenders.
Maybe this is what the Raiders need to do.
First-round picks have tremendous value. For that price, we saw the Eagles secure WR A.J. Brown. We saw the Cardinals grab Marquise Brown. We saw the Colts acquire DeForest Buckner. Amari Cooper was traded for a first as well. That’s a lot of receivers, but it shows the value that first-round picks have. Trading those away won’t solve all of the Raiders’ problems. They need too much help on the offensive line and defense for first-round picks to fix, but you know what’s better than whiffing on a first-rounder? Getting a proven vet.
The Raiders have two options after this season (unless they turn things around in a drastic manner): they can either blow everything up — let go of Derek Carr, sell Davante Adams, Denzel Perryman, and Darren Waller — or they can go all-in to compete with the Chiefs and Chargers. Three first-rounders could get a great D-lineman, a top-tier corner, maybe a safety. That goes a long way. Couple that with the remainder of your draft picks and free agency, and there’s a chance the Raiders could compete as early as next year. They just need to pull the trigger.
Original source here
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