The Las Vegas Raiders brought back Karl Joseph for the 2021 campaign, and he must bring leadership to a young group this season.
The Las Vegas Raiders drafted Johnathan Abram in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, and the expectation was that he would come in and be their strong safety for years to come. A few years earlier, the franchise had drafted another strong safety in the first round in Karl Joseph, who worked his way up to being a solid player for the team, especially in 2019.
However, Kujo left the franchise after the 2019 season, signing with the Cleveland Browns on a one-year deal. This offseason, Joseph made his return to the Silver and Black, and with Abram as the starter at strong safety, he will have to provide a backup role within a position group that had major issues last season.
In fact, Abram was atrocious at times last season, and heading into the summer, is a player who is under the microscope. The hope is that he can prove he was worth the first-round selection, but if he falters, at least there is a proven player behind him on the depth chart now in Joseph.
Raiders could have strong depth at safety
Outside of Abram and Joseph, the Raiders also have some strong depth at free safety, as they traded up for TCU star Trevon Moehrig during the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Moehrig fills a monster void on this defense, and with both he and Abram being so young, the Silver and Black could have a talented duo at the two safety spots for years to come.
The new defensive coordinator is a master when it comes to the defensive backfield, and he has some young and moldable players to coach in Las Vegas. Tyree Gillespie was a guy the Raiders took in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and they still have Dallin Leavitt, as well as undrafted free agent Shaun Crawford at safety as well.
Overall, this is the best collection of talent they have had at safety in a long time.
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The secondary has been an issue for quite some time, but with Bradley’s arrival, as well as some new faces in the defensive backfield, the hope is that it can become a strength. Joseph was playing his best football as a member of the Raiders before leaving for Cleveland, and in his second go-around, he will not only have to be a playmaker on the field but a leader off of it.