As the 2015 NFL Season progresses, it is becoming further apparent that the Raiders need serious help in their secondary. With Charles Woodson likely in his final season and Nate Allen as the only other true safety capable of starting on the Silver and Black, look for General Manager Reggie McKenzie to upgrade the safety position in the 2016 NFL Draft.
One player to keep an eye on is West Virgina safety Karl Joseph. The Raiders had scouts at West Virginia's game against Maryland. Joseph played well and recorded an interception along with some key tackles. Here is some more information on the player that the Raiders were likely scouting.
Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
5'11", 197 lbs
2015 (3 games): 16 Tackles, 4 INT
2014: 92 Tackles, 1 INT, 3 Pass Breakups, 3 Forced Fumbles
2013: 68 Tackles, 1 INT, 4 Pass Breakups
2012: 104 Tackles, 2 INT, 6 Pass Breakups, 3 Forced Fumbles
2014: First Team All-Big 12
2013: All-Big 12 Honorable Mention
2012: All-Big 12 Honorable Mention, Freshman All-American
There are a few words that accurately describe Karl Joseph: playmaker, ball-hawk, leader. He has become one of my favorite players to watch among the 2016 NFL Draft class because of his aggressive playing style. Though he is just 5'11", 197 pounds, he hits like a freight train. He flies to the football consistently and shows impressive pursuit.
Joseph is the team captain of West Virginia and when he makes a play, it sparks the entire defense. He is the leader of the defense which is an important quality in a safety.
In his first three seasons, Joseph was a force in run defense but struggled in pass coverage. Through three games, he has made a significant leap in his coverage skills and already has four interceptions.
Joseph is a four-year starter and has a lot of experience playing against top competition, including last season against Alabama when led the team with 18 tackles.
Joseph's biggest weakness is his size as he is an undersized safety with a thin frame. While I do not think his size will impact his performance in the NFL due to his aggression and physicality, injuries could be a concern against bigger and faster competition. Joseph has yet to suffer a major injury in his four years at West Virginia, but the NFL is a whole different ball game.
Karl Joseph checks the box on everything I look for in a safety. He is physical, aggressive, a tackling machine, a leader, and of late has shown excellent coverage skills. I would project he is drafted in the 10-20 range next April. If the Raiders end up in the middle of the first round, Joseph could be a wise pick for them and immediately upgrade their secondary.
If you want to scout Joseph yourself, here is a link to his games via Draftbreakdown.com
I usually do not encourage scouting a player from their highlight tape as it does not show the player's weaknesses and only shows their ceiling. But, I am putting Joseph's highlight tape up because I want readers to watch how physical he is and how he flies to the football.