If there's anything we've learned in the three plus years Reggie McKenzie has been the Raiders' GM, it's that they place great value on high character players. Why wouldn't they? It has served them well, with their best picks being of extremely high quality character. It helps that Joseph is also a hell of a football player.
"By watching the tape, you can feel his passion," said McKenzie. "You can feel his intensity in the way he plays, you can feel his toughness, he has a very aggressive mentality."
"He's a guy that is very versatile," Del Rio said of Joseph. "He can play at all the levels of your defense. He can come off the edge as a blitzer, he can play down in the box, he can play center field, he's a guy that does a great job taking angles and he's a very effective and efficient hitter and tackler. He has a great temperament, we just think he's a really good football player and he has an infectious personality and demeanor about himself."
Joseph needed to have the right attitude to handle tearing his ACL in practice following the fourth game of last season. He was set to be one of the top players in the draft with already 5 interceptions on the season in just four games which led the nation.
When he went down, with the injury, he had a long rehab period and worried about how injury concerns and lack of being in the eye of scouts would affect his draft status.
"As a competitor it hurt not being able to compete, especially at the combine, seeing guys do certain stuff," said Joseph. "When it first happened I was definitely worried about it, but my family, my mom is very religious, and I am as well, she believes and I believe everything happens for a reason and God has a plan. It's showing right now that even with the injury a lot of people still thought very highly of me and I'm just so happy to show that the Raiders staff gave me an opportunity."
He received considerable positive notice from his coaches following his injury who spoke highly of his leadership as a team captain. These kind of sentiments don't go unnoticed by the Raiders who place great value in such qualities. And it pushed Joseph high enough in their eyes to take him at 14 overall instead of waiting to see who was available in the second round.
"That's part of the background the scouts really dig deep for and bring back to us." Said Del Rio. "And also as far as coaches, where we get involved in the early spring and prepare for the draft, leading up to the draft, when you have positive things like that, that just adds to the feeling that you have. You go into the tape and there's good tape and you get feedback like that from the scouts and comments like that from the coaches, that just bolsters your opinion."