With a torn ACL in the rear view mirror, NFL senior analyst Gil Brandt believes that Karl Joseph could earn a NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award at season’s end.
The 5-foot-10 Joseph lacks ideal height for the position, but he’s a very physical player and excellent run defender who can serve as a sort of extra linebacker/run-stopping DB for Oakland — like a smaller version of Seattle’s Kam Chancellor. He’s very explosive. Less than a year after injuring his ACL, the No. 14 overall pick has started two preseason games. If he performs well against the Titans this week, I expect him to cement his spot as a Week 1 starter. Joseph has a good backpedal.
Joseph picked off five passes last year at West Virginia, but with ballhawking veteran Reggie Nelson set to play alongside him (and get him lined up correctly), the burden for picking off passes won’t fall on Joseph. If the Raiders get any interceptions out of him, it’ll be a bonus. After watching him practice, I’m confident he’ll be a factor in 2016.
The Raiders finish out the preseason on Thursday night against Seattle. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Raiders play cautious with Joseph (and Bruce Irvin) and hold him out of the contest to make sure he’s healthy for the Regular Season.