Karl Joseph Impresses in Defensive Debut
The wait is over; Raiders first-round pick Karl Joseph has arrived.
Joseph, former standout safety at West Virginia, watched from the sidelines during the first two regular season games of his NFL career, taking a backseat to third-year defensive back Keith McGill.
At 6’3”, 210 pounds, McGill has all of the physical tools necessary to do big things at the safety position in the NFL, but other than his strong performance against New Orleans, he has cost the Raiders significantly on the defensive side of the ball.
Because of McGill’s underwhelming play in Week 2, Joseph earned the nod at safety opposite of former Cincinnati Bengals safety Reggie Nelson, earning his first start of his NFL career.
He took full advantage of the opportunity.
Against Tennessee, Joseph led the Raiders with 10 combined tackles (six solo) in route to earning the team’s fourth-highest defensive grade (82.5) on 61 defensive snaps, per PFF.com.
Though Titans running back DeMarco Murray was able to pick him up on the blitz, Joseph added to a highlight play from fellow West Virginia alumni Irvin because of his burst and motor, as he kept Mariota from slowing down and ended the play with a Titans player on his back.
"“I think it was about doing my job,” Joseph said. “I wasn’t trying to do too much or do anything extra but just do my job. If everybody does their job it shows how dominant we can be on defense.”"
Like Amerson and Smith, Joseph simply did his job. It’s one thing for Oakland’s secondary to clock in and handle their business on one Sunday, but if Joseph and company can perform at this level with consistency, that would be a job well done.