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Can Johnathan Abram and Karl Joseph coexist as Raiders safeties?

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NFL: NFL Draft Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Only a handful of the players drafted during the Reggie McKenzie era are currently on the roster. One of those players is 2016 top pick safety Karl Joseph. Joseph has not lived up to his draft position expectations as the 14th overall selection. Maybe it’s a little unfair to say that considering the pick was regarded as a reach. Joseph was viewed as a prospect more likely to be drafted on day two due to a serious injury he suffered his final season at West Virginia.

The early part of Joseph’s career has been underwhelming to say the least, he has struggled to find his role with the defense. His lack of size makes him a liability when covering tight ends. Time and time again larger more physical tight ends are able to post him up and have their way with him.

Early last season, Joseph saw only 11 defensive snaps through week six due in part to injury. His name was being kicked around as a potential trade chip as the deadline approached midseason. The Raiders opted to hold onto Joseph and slowly the snap count began to increase.

By week 10 he was the full time starter the remainder of the year. In the final eight games of the year he registered 42 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception. In fact, by the end of the season Joseph showed major improvements in all facets of his game according to pro football focus.

Fast forward a couple months, and now the Raiders have just selected Johnathan Abram in the first round of the draft. Abram’s appears in many ways to be a bigger version of Joseph with a similar skill set.

Gruden obviously has strong feelings for Abram, selected to wear the prestigious jersey number 24 tells you the coach has high expectations for the rookie.

I had the opportunity to interview Raiders insider for NBC sports bay area, Scott Bair for my podcast, “Just Pod Baby.” When asked how Abram and Joseph will coexist, “It’s possible that they don’t,” said Bair.

“I asked Mike Mayock specifically about whether the Raiders were going to exercise Karl Joseph’s fifth year option, they have to do that in early May. And he didn’t say yes and he didn’t say no, he just said that is a conversation that he is going to have with Karl. So I don’t think it’s a guarantee that the fifth year option gets exercised.”

Earlier this week, ESPN projected the Raiders to part ways with Joseph. The deadline to pick up fifth year options on the 2016 draft class is Friday, so we should know more about his future at the end of the week.


Do you think Karl Joseph and Johnathan Abram can play together on the Raiders defense?

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    Yes, they should be the two starting safeties
    (1252 votes)
  • 17%
    No, find a trade partner for Joseph or simply move on
    (274 votes)
1526 votes total Vote Now