Reggie McKenzie recently signed a four-year contract extension as the GM of the Raiders, thanks to his ability to stock the Raiders roster with homegrown talent he’s found in recent drafts. McKenzie has done so well building the roster that CBS Sports wrote an article outlining how the Raiders have a charted a course for sustained success.
He’s had a few whiffs but McKenzie has more often than not hit on players, even when fans and critics alike were skeptical of the choice. Mario Edwards Jr. last year is a good example of this, while Justin “Jelly” Ellis, Latavius Murray, Ben Heeney, T.J. Carrie, and Neiron Ball are all examples of McKenzie’s ability to find players later in the draft that have had significant positive impact on the team.
McKenzie was criticized by some for drafting S Karl Joseph in the first round of this draft, but Joseph was a consensus top-10 talent. The criticism stemmed from Joseph having torn his ACL in September 2015 and having not seen the field since. Those still critical of McKenzie for selecting a severely injured D.J. Hayden #12 overall in 2013 were particularly frustrated with the Joseph pick.
But McKenzie did his diligence and trusted the team doctors, and rightly determined the Raiders needed to shore up the safety position. As such, Joseph was too good to pass up.
After aggressive rehabilitation and devouring the playbook while sidelined, Joseph has practiced quite well but the team is still being cautious with him. He’s been given a lot of defensive responsibility, and has shown not only the physical acumen but the mental capacity to play at the NFL level. To make sure that continues, the Raiders have given him rest when needed.
To that end, per Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area, Joseph may not yet be ready for his first preseason action as of yet.
Though he’s had no major setbacks this offseason both Joseph and the team see the bigger picture and want to err on the side of caution at this point, as with the talent and intelligence he’s already shown, he’s poised to be a big part of the Raider resurgence for years to come. When he finally does see the field, you can bet Raider Nation will be salivating to see what he can do.
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