After two up and down seasons, Karl Joseph needs to take that next step if he wants to be part of the Oakland Raiders future.
When the Oakland Raiders took Karl Joseph 14th overall in the 2016 draft, they expected him to come in and contribute right away. Injuries, scheme issues, and inconsistent play may affected those expectations, but the time is now for Joseph.
A player’s third season is usually where you expected to see the most significant leap in production so eyes will be on Joseph all year. From the different interviews, he’s had this offseason, Joseph appears aware that he needs to produce like a first-rounder and seems ready to prove his worth.
2017 Season Review
Joseph was able to stay pretty healthy after dealing with ACL recovery in 2016. He played and started in 15 games in 2017, but his performance was inconsistent. Joseph struggled a lot in coverage, but he was often put in losing situations. He plays more as a box safety, but Joseph is just 5’9 and cannot cover tight ends and big slots. Which is exactly what he was asked to do a lot of in 2017.
He continues to be an enforcer in the run game and is fearless in his pursuit of the ball carrier. And when he was allowed to blitz, I thought he did a pretty good job.
2018 Season Preview
Paul Guenther’s defense will really help get the most out of Joseph. First off, there will likely be more two high safety looks which are best for him. Joseph is so fast and rangy in the deep zone but doesn’t get to show it nearly enough. As I said earlier, Joseph really needs to breakout this year and become the playmaker in the secondary. And with this new scheme, he’ll get plenty of opportunities to do it
Training Camp Projection
Though Joseph will probably go into camp as a starter, there a definitely no guarantees for him. This new coaching staff has no ties to him and could look elsewhere is he doesn’t produce. Plus, Obi Melifonwu appears to be healthy again, there’s still Reggie Nelson, and Marcus Gilchrist was signed this offseason. Only two of the four will start, so Joseph can’t let up during camp.