Pete Carroll’s reclamation projects with former first-round picks continues, at a position of sudden Seahawks need.
Seattle claimed former Raiders number-one draft choice Johnathan Abram off NFL waivers Wednesday. Defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt confirmed the move following practice.
The team added a new safety while starting strong safety Ryan Neal missed practice with a badly bruised elbow and shoulder injury.
“Talented young player,” Hurtt said of a player he studied for Seattle out of Mississippi State in the run up to the 2019 NFL draft.
“I know we put the claim in and got him, so I will learn a lot more (about him) over the next 24 hours.”
Seattle is Abram’s third team this month.
Green Bay waived Abram, 26, on Tuesday. The Packers had him for just 20 days. The Raiders waived him Nov. 8.
He was one of their three first-round picks in the 2019 draft, selected by then-Raiders coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock from a previous regime. Abram had been the Raiders’ starting strong safety from his rookie season until late last month. Las Vegas’ first-year coaching staff benched him and began starting Duron Harmon instead. Harmon started at safety against the Seahawks last weekend in the Raiders’ win in Seattle.
Abram sustained a season-ending shoulder injury in the first half of his first NFL game with the Raiders, in 2019. He became known with Las Vegas as risk-taker who sought big hits, often while missing tackles and playing outside the framework of called defensive schemes.
He is the second discarded former first-round pick the Seahawks have signed this month.
Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell made his Seattle debut last weekend. Seattle signed the ex-Vikings top pick to the practice squad Nov. 1.
Carroll in recent seasons has also signed defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, wide receiver Josh Gordon, defensive end Dion Jordan among other former first-round picks across the NFL.
Neal got hurt late in regulation of the Seahawks’ loss to the Raiders. The first play third-stringer Josh Jones replaced Neal as the strong safety was the final play of the game: Josh Jacobs’ 86-yard run straight through Seattle’s defense past Jones for the Raiders’ winning touchdown 11 minutes into overtime.
Neal surprised the Seahawks by taking part in the light walk-through drill Wednesday morning and was “much better” than the team expected. But he sat out the main practice in the afternoon. Carroll said Neal is vowing to play Sunday when the Seahawks (6-5) play at the Los Angeles Rams (3-8).
The Seahawks signing Abram suggests Neal may not play, or they don’t have supreme confidence in Jones having to play more if Neal remains hurting into the weekend.
Jones has been Plan C for Seattle at strong safety since Jamal Adams tore his quadriceps tendon and injured his knee in the opening game, Seattle’s win over Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos. Adams is out for the season.