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Raiders break their large defensive back trend with drafting of Karl Joseph

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What is silver and black and starts with the number 6...a lot? The Raiders secondary of course. The Raiders love tall defensive backs and their roster is littered with players that fit the bill.

Name Pos. HT. WT.
Sean Smith CB 6'3" 218
David Amerson CB 6'1" 205
TJ Carrie CB 6'0" 204
Neiko Thorpe CB 6'1" 200
DJ Hayden CB 5'11" 190
Keith McGill CB 6'3" 211
Dexter McDonald CB 6'1" 200
SaQwan Edwards DB 6'0" 200
Dewey McDonald DB 6'0" 220
Chris Hackett FS 6'2" 195
Tevin McDonald FS 5'11" 195
Reggie Nelson S 5'11" 210
Nate Allen S 6'1" 210
Brynden Trawick S 6'2" 225
Karl Joseph S 5'9.5" 205

Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders coaching staff have created their own version of the Seattle Seahawks secondary which features large defensive backs that match up well against even the tallest wide receivers. Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. was the linebacker coach in Seattle and is no stranger to the system. The Green Bay Packers, where Reggie McKenzie was the director of player personnel, are another team that values bigger defensive backs and McKenzie came to Oakland with the same mindset.

After becoming the Raiders general manager, McKenzie and his staff made it a priority through free agency and the NFL Draft to add defensive backs with great length. That trend broke on Thursday when the Raiders selected Karl Joseph, a 5'9.5", 205 lb safety with their first round pick (14th overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Seahawks also drafted a smaller safety with the 14th overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft. That pick turned out great for Seattle as Earl Thomas (5'10", 202 lbs) has since been named a Pro Bowler five times. Ironically, Thomas is one of the players that Karl Joseph best compares to as both safeties are undersized but hit like hammers.

Perhaps even more paradoxical is that two teams which highly value large defensive backs both took an undersized safety with the 14th overall pick. In this instance, Oakland veered from one of its key philosophies to take a player that is a baller, regardless of his size.