An in-depth recap and review of the 2016 season of Oakland Raiders rookie first-round draft selection safety Karl Joseph.
Coming off of an ACL tear in his senior season at West Virginia, Karl Joseph was a hard player to judge. What you saw on tape was someone who brought the hammer when he was going up against players twice his size. What we did not get to see were any solo workouts because of the ACL tear. Regardless of all of that, Oakland Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie pulled the trigger and drafted Karl with the #14 pick.
After not being able to participate in OTA’s, it was widely believed that Joseph would be ready to go for training camp. Not only did Joseph show his above average skills, but it was reported that he intercepted quarterback Derek Carr multiple times in camp. This clearly excited Raider Nation, and most could not wait to see him suited up and on the field.
Unfortunately, everyone had to wait until Week 3 to see Karl, and although it took longer than most wanted, we were not disappointed when he made his debut.
Let’s take a closer look at Joseph’s week-by-week performance.
After the coaching staff elected to slowly bring Karl Joseph along, he finally got his first career start in Week 3 against the Tennessee Titans, and he did not disappoint.
For the game, Karl led the Raiders with 10 total tackles. Although the defense nearly gave up 400 yards, they allowed a season low 10 points for the game. Karl’s presence on the field seemed to help the defense as a whole, and it showed.
There were points in the game where Joseph flashed his head-hunter mentality, and it was a site to see.
Once again, Karl Joseph played a factor in Week 4 against the Ravens. In fact, he and fellow rookie Cory James were probably the two best players on the field for the defense that day.
James led the way with 15 tackles, but Joseph was right behind him with 8 tackles, to go along with 1 pass defensed that should have been intercepted. Joseph continued to show his potential, and it was just a matter of time until he would have his breakout game.
After back to back solid games, Karl exploded in Week 5, for what was his best performance of his young career.
For the game, Joseph tied for second on the team in tackles with 6, and also caught his first career interception. He also recovered a fumble. Joseph was all over the field against the Chargers, and it was clear that the Raiders drafted the right guy to play safety.
Against the Chiefs, the Raiders played one of their more uninspiring games of the year. Neither the defense nor the offense was really able to gain any traction in this one. Despite that, Karl still led the Raiders with 9 tackles.
The Raiders were finally able to blow an opponent out, even though it was against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars.
The defense also had a solid performance. Karl had one of his less productive games in terms of tackles, and would end the game with 3 tackles and 1 pass defensed.
To end the Florida road trip, the Raiders would play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to close out this east coast trip.
Karl Joseph came to play in this one. For the game, he once again led the Raiders with 7 tackles and also added 2 passes defensed, as well as 1 tackle for a loss.
He also made Mike Evans pay. Evans thought it was a good idea to go over the middle. Even though the hit was borderline illegal, it put the thought into Evans’ head that he would not have success going over the middle against Joseph. Mind you Mike Evans is not a small man, listed at 6’5″ and 231 pounds.
On one of the biggest stages of the week, the Raiders found themselves on Sunday night football for the first time in over a decade.
The Raiders dominated in all three phases of the game. Joseph on the other hand, had one of his lesser productive games considering he did not register a single tackle, but he did end up on the stat sheet with 1 pass defensed.
In Mexico City, Karl Joseph bounced back and had another great game. He tied for the lead in tackles with 10, and also made Brock Osweiler pay in one instance when Osweiler was stretching for a first down.
The Raiders would go on to win the game, and Joseph landed himself a souvenir on the way out.
Coming back to Oakland, the Raiders would take on the defending NFC champions, and it turned out to be arguably one of the most exciting games of the entire season.
The Raiders would go on to win the game, and Joseph chipped in with 3 tackles for the game.
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Sadly, this would be the last regular season game we would see Karl Joseph in, due to a turf toe injury. Before going out midway through the game, Joseph had 4 tackles for the game.
Despite his lack of interceptions for the season, Joseph was a vital piece to the Raiders defense, and that is demonstrated below.
After a season in which he didn’t play in the first couple games as well as the final few, there are some health concerns to consider going forward. But while healthy, he proved himself as a quality player with a bright future.
We’ll see what he has in store for his sophomore season in 2017.