It’s almost a month into NFL free agency and the Las Vegas Raiders have still not addressed their glaring need at safety. At this point, many of the best options have already signed with teams. Even if the team plans to address the need in the draft, they have to find a veteran to help man the ship while he develops.
In a bit of news that came out of left field, the Raiders are bringing in Karl Joseph for a visit, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 9, 2021
Joseph was a first-round pick for the team back in 2016. While he was never terrible, he didn’t develop into the elite safety that the Raiders were hoping he’d be. The team let him walk in free agency last year and he spent the season with the Cleveland Browns. The change of scenery didn’t revamp his career and now he’s looking for a new team. Now that the Raiders have a new defensive coordinator, perhaps Joseph will be a much better fit.
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Joseph Never Wanted to Leave Raiders
Joseph was actually one of the Raiders’ better defenders when he was with the team. In 2018, Pro Football Focus actually ranked him as the team’s top defender. Unfortunately, he wasn’t much of a fit in Paul Guenther’s defense. Prior to last year’s free agency, Joseph made it obvious that he’d like to stay with the team.
“Of course,” answered Joseph when asked if he wanted to stay with the Raiders. “This is the team that drafted me. I love playing with this group of guys. I love playing for this coaching staff.”
It’s clear that he never wanted to leave but the Raiders didn’t want to bring him back. With Gus Bradley taking over the defense, Joseph could be a better fit now. He was originally drafted to play in Ken Norton’s defense. That defense is very similar to the one that Bradley will likely implement. Signing Joseph wouldn’t be the most exciting thing in the world but he could be a solid pickup while the Raiders develop a young player.
Raiders Need to Address Safety Soon
At this point, the Raiders just need to sign a free safety. Jeff Heath is a decent player but he should not be starting at that position. Johnathan Abram needs to stay in the box to be effective. He’s not very good in pass coverage. Las Vegas would be wise to find a player who can cover very well.
Joseph is better against the run than he is the pass so he might not be the best solution. Tre Boston could be a better pickup. He started 15 games for Bradley back in 2017 and caught a career-high five interceptions. That was easily the best year of his career. It would be smart for Bradley to try and recapture that success. Regardless, the team will also need to address the position in the draft.
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