Rookie safety Johnathan Abram is expected to be placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Wednesday.
The news is a brutal blow after a promising start to the Raiders‘ 2019 campaign, and sounds likely to end the rookie’s season before it barely got off the ground — he’ll miss at least eight weeks going on IR.
Abrams played 43 of the Raiders 57 defensive snaps in Monday’s 24-16 victory, per Next Gen Stats, compiling five tackles and one pass defended.
Coach Jon Gruden didn’t let on that Abram was dealing with an injury on Tuesday, speaking only of how the rookie can sometimes get overly aggressive.
“I think he probably got a little bit too reckless at times,” Gruden said, via the San Jose Mercury News. “Made some great plays, some impact plays and certainly I think some tackles he’s got to make for us, he missed. But his debut was pretty good.”
The loss of the promising first-round pick is a tough break after the Raiders defense looked much improved to open the season.
Abram’s injury means it’s likely veteran Curtis Riley takes over as the starter, or the Raiders could use Lamarcus Joyner, who mostly saw time as a slot corner in Week 1, alongside Karl Joseph to plug the gap created at safety with the rookie’s injury.