With Paul Guenther taking over the defense, one of the young players that general manager Reggie McKenzie has drafted recently will have to pop. Entering his third year out of West Virginia, safety Karl Joseph might end up being the guy that gets to a Pro Bowl level in the Oakland secondary.
Joseph was a former first-round pick by the Raiders in 2016. He entered the league a bit banged up out of West Virginia due to his physical nature to playing safety. Known as a hard hitter coming out of WVU, Joseph grew into being a more complete defensive back under former assistant head coach and interim defensive coordinator John Pagano in 2017.
With Guenther and his staff trying to build this Raiders defense from the ground up, they will want to lean on Joseph heavily in year three. Second-year players Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu played sparingly as rookies due to injury. Frankly, the rest of the Raiders defensive backfield is also-ran.
All this does is put Joseph into more of a leadership role in his third year in the league. The Raiders drafted him to be a high-end safety in this league for several years. While he did make progress in 2017, look for Joseph to take his game to the next level with Guenther as his defensive coordinator and Derrick Ansley as his defensive backs coach.