We continue our 2017-18 NFL previews by examining Oakland Raiders’ safety Karl Joseph’s past, present, and future.
The Past: The Raiders selected Joseph with the 15th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Coming off an ACL tear during his senior season, Joseph missed the entire preseason and first two games of his rookie season. Joseph suffered a turf toe injury in Week 13 and did not play again.
The difference Joseph made didn’t necessarily show up in his stats (60 tackles and one INT). With Joseph on the field, the Raiders allowed a league-low 51.2 QBR. Without him? A league-high (by a wide margin) 76.2.
The Present: With a full offseason of practice, Joseph is in full health at the start of training camp.
“Just being able to go through this offseason working in the weight room and going through OTAs, I feel like a new person,” Joseph said back in June. “I feel a lot stronger and faster. I’m not really timid like I was last year. I was kind of timid certain times to plant off that knee and stuff like that. Now, it’s just a thing in the back of my mind. I don’t really feel it, so now I’m just focused on football more than the injuries and stuff like that.”
With the offseason acquisition of RB Marshawn Lynch, the Raiders offense is loaded. The defense, on the other hand, is still improving and looking for playmakers. Joseph can certainly fill that role.
Should Joseph remain healthy this season, he could be a breakout star on a team with Super Bowl aspirations. The Raiders’ duo of Joseph and Bruce Irvin is one that WVU fans should keep their eyes on this year. They’ll be fun to watch.
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