Karl Joseph, S
School: West Virginia | Conference: Big 12
College Experience: Senior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 5-11 / 197 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 3rd - 4th
NFL Comparison: Calvin Pryor
Karl Joseph was one of the top safeties in the country in 2014, but decided to forego the NFL Draft in order to return to school for his senior year. His decision seemed brilliant, because through Week 4 of the college season he accumulated 20 tackles, a sack, and was tied for the most interceptions in the country with five. Then in an early October practice, Joseph tore his ACL in a non-contact drill, ending his season.
Joseph's stock has been in somewhat of a decline since, if not simply for the fact that he hasn't been able to participate in the Senior Bowl and pre-draft workouts to get his name out. But turn on the tape and you'll see that Joseph can be at times an electric playmaker. Joseph's calling cards are the bone-rattling hits he delivers on the field, despite weighing under 200 pounds and standing under six feet. He plays with passion and violence, and by all accounts he is a well-liked and respected teammate. The week after he suffered his knee injury, West Virginia coaches and players carried Joseph's jersey out on to the field in honor of his absence. Karl Joseph's college honors include All-Big 12 recognition in 2014, All-Big 12 honorable mention in 2013, and West Virginia DPOY as a true freshman in 2012. "KuJo" was named the top overall safety in the 2016 draft by analyst Mike Mayock in February.
- Thrives on contact, attacking ballcarriers like a heat-seeking missile. Uses low center of gravity wrap-up and take down opponents
- Always plays at full speed and looks to deliver a big hit
- Willing box run support safety and experienced blitzer off the edge
- Above-average ball skills have led to nine career interceptions when asked to drop into coverage
- Limited instincts and experience dropping into zone coverage, although capable of doing so
- Undersized for the NFL although plays bigger than his measurements
- Prone to over-pursuit and liable to lose his assignment in traffic
- Still healing from an ACL tear suffered in October 2015 which could hinder his early development
— Chris Anderson (@CMAnderson247) February 11, 2016
Karl Joseph = best safety prospect since Thomas & Berry. pic.twitter.com/UkpATbuI2b
— Aaron Freeman (@falcfans) February 11, 2016
Been on a Karl Joseph kick this evening...Ball carriers just bounce backwards of this guy. Every time. pic.twitter.com/KgUYtk6Yu5— All22ChalkTalk (@All22ChalkTalk) February 11, 2016
Karl Joseph is an absolute Hunter, man. From Single high, in the box and on special teams.— Paul Conner (@P_ConnerJr) February 1, 2016
Great instincts here by Karl Joseph. Love it. pic.twitter.com/klrz1FpxYc— Tim O'Leary (@TimO1eary) January 31, 2016
Karl Joseph a DOG— Hunter Farrar (@Hfarrar8) January 23, 2016
Karl Joseph and Kyshoen Jarrett Jesus Christ #redskins— Seph (@SizzleSane25) January 21, 2016
How He Would Fit on the Redskins
Joseph would bring a hard-hitting, physical mentality to the Redskins' secondary. The two major questions that surround him are his physical health coming off an ACL tear and his ability in coverage. The knee surgery shouldn't be an issue given the modern recovery times of ACL tears (Washington's own Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery). Although Joseph flashed sideline-to-sideline coverage ability at times in college, he was infrequently asked to do so, and therefore the Redskins' coaching staff will have to project his proficiency in this regard.
Joseph brings plus ability in the run game and as a blitzer. He could see sub package action as the third safety next season if last year's starters return and no one else is added in free agency. He can also contribute on special teams immediately. I believe Joseph has the talent to eventually become a starting safety in the NFL. He was my favorite safety last year but decided against declaring early. Although his traits best suit a role as a strong safety, he has the speed and ball skills to play either position.