Raiders take West Virginia safety Karl Joseph at No. 14

The Raiders grabbed a ball-hawking and aggressive safety at No. 14 in West Virginia's Karl Joseph.

The Raiders grabbed a ball-hawking and aggressive safety at No. 14 in West Virginia’s Karl Joseph.

The Raiders fortified their secondary in Thursday’s NFL Draft, adding hard-hitting West Virginia safety Karl Joseph with the No. 14 overall pick.

“You can feel his passion,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “You can feel his intensity, the way he plays. You can feel his toughness. He has a very aggressive mentality. He’s versatile. He plays all over the field. He’ll run and hit anything that moves.”

Joseph may have been a mild surprise at No. 14. He had been projected more as a late first round pick thanks to a senior year knee injury. McKenzie would’ve considered a trade back to later in the first round, but nothing materialized.

“If anything would have come up, I would have entertained it,” McKenzie said. “We’re just happy we got him. Wherever we got him, it wouldn’t have mattered. He was our 14th pick and we’re happy to get him.”

Even Joseph admitted some surprised at being selected so soon. He said he had a good interview with the Raiders at the NFL scouting combine in February, but his other contact with them had been minimal.

“I’m so happy the coaching staff with the Raiders took a chance on me,” Joseph said on a conference call. “Once I picked up that phone, I promised they won’t regret that pick.”

Joseph did not attend the draft and instead watched from Haiti, where he was born and still has family on his mother’s side. Joseph will spend the next few days in Haiti as well and won’t come to town until the team’s rookie mini camp begins May 13.

“Everybody dreams of going and walking across the stage,” Joseph said, “but me, I wanted to do something that meant a lot more and being with my family.”

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Joseph tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee to end his senior season after just four games. He’s expected to be ready to go by training camp.

“The knee’s feeling good so I’ve just got to keep strengthening it and get ready,” Joseph said.

McKenzie also said they received positive reviews from the Raiders’ medical team.

“He’s going to be ready to roll,” McKenzie said. “Our doctors gave us the thumbs up.”

Joseph is yet another addition to a secondary that was Oakland’s chief concern entering the offseason. They signed Sean Smith in free agency to pair with David Amerson at cornerback and also added safety Reggie Nelson. Joseph figures to have a good chance to start at alongside Nelson in the defensive backfield.

“We’re looking to be really good on defense,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “Obviously we’ve talked about secondary play and our desire to have it perform at higher level. The temperament that he brings and the intensity that he plays with, the instinctiveness that he has, those are things that we covet. It’ll be a real competitive group. We’ve added a couple of guys in free agency and now to be able to add a player like Karl is awesome for us and now we get to work.”

Like McKenzie, Joseph raved about his own passion when asked to describe himself as a player.

“I’m a dog,” Joseph said. “I play with that intensity. I play with a chip on my shoulder. I’m very confident in myself. I play with a deep passion and love for the game. I don’t think there’s anybody in this draft that plays with more passion than me.”

The flash in Joseph’s game comes from his hitting ability and support in the run game, but he’s equally skilled against the pass and has good ball skills.

“I wouldn’t take anything away from his ball-hawking ability,” Del Rio said. “I think his instincts, his ability to read quarterbacks, to catch the ball, not just knock them down, but catch them. He’s a playmaker and he’s a playmaker that takes good angles and also tackles and is known for his hitting, but he’s more than just a hitter.”


Jimmy Durkin

Sports writer for the Bay Area News Group, covering the Raiders.

  • R8der4evr

    How many sacks?

  • Sir Raider Duck, OMS

    You mean I have to live in the same city with Nkemdiche? I’ll be very careful walking under windows for awhile…

  • His second contract will be smaller than his rookie.

  • Sir Raider Duck, OMS

    Seven. In his entire college career.

  • Greg Mindyobizness

    Everyone was questioning Honey Badger too.. I like this pick a lot.

  • Scourge of the East

    I hope things are going a little easier for you today.

  • 1 ACL = injured?

    best S in college. i love the pick

  • Raider D


  • R8erEduc8er

    Arizona got their Darnell Dockett

  • Rico Stifler

    And Cards take Nkemdiche at 29

  • One for me

  • Greg Mindyobizness

    Hasn’t played or ran(full speed) since the injury… Jury is out, don’t care what his tape is.

  • R8der4evr

    EXACTLY my point
    Spence, Bullard >

  • Oak R8rs33.01

    Good. Whatever. He will be out of the league in 3 years.

  • With the joseph pick, no way reg drafts su’a cravens in the 2nd round.

  • AlDavisJr


  • Yep

  • Oak R8rs33.01

    Yea. Now we go DT or WR IMO.


    If that cancer survivor is truly a football fan he’ll have no problem with it.

  • Greg Mindyobizness

    WILL not a safety..

  • Yes man. first day back. I needed this release. its been fun tonight. still v tough rolling of course but a few drinks and messing with the raider faithful for a few hrs has been a much needed distraction.

    thanks for asking bro…

  • Rico Stifler

    Niners suck at drafting….

  • LAto_TheBay

    I like Joseph. Really liked Sua. It’s not impossible because we really do need to solve that position considering Allen sucks and Nelson is 32. But yeah, no.

  • irjonny

    probably not, unless he’s a LB for us

  • aig-raiders

    lol corrected

  • R8erEduc8er

    Couldn’t have said it better Gruden,

  • Billings or Shepherd in the second?

  • 860 Todd Christensen

    Gruden making me puke………..

  • OT DE ILB still in play too. Go BPA.

  • new post freaks

  • R8erEduc8er

    DT, WR, or Jack if he’s miraculously still there

  • fair enough. its why we all have opinions…time will tell! i for one am very excited

    ACL these days is a minor skin scrape…

  • xraided

    Billings will go early. Shepard all the way

  • jesusraiderjim

    Man the other night I went to ump a little leGue game and forgot my damn ball sac. I had to keep the balls in my pocket.

  • That joseph pick was out of nowhere. I don’t have a clue who reg is gonna draft next. That was a curveball

  • Fingers crossed

  • xraided

    Baalke has to be the worst GM in sports… Down there will the sixers GM


  • LAto_TheBay

    New Post

  • Scourge of the East

    distractions are good. going back to lurking mode……

  • Greg Mindyobizness

    For sure.. I don’t hate this pick like I did the DJ pick. This kid was a leader and played with heart. I love the player, I just hate drafting injured players. Fingers crossed for a complete recovery.

  • yeah i hear u…almost dead (dj) is a lot scarier than acl…he will be fine. many say ready by week 1…

    i wonder if jack injury is a lot worse…he is still there….

  • r8dercain

    SD looked around and said ” damn the raiders got Khalil Mack, Denver got von miller, schitt we better take bosa. .Lmfao. .he’s a bust

  • CVRaider

    And have nobody to protect Rivers from Mack or Miller

  • LondonAl

    To be fair to DJ his college injury has had little bearing on his NFL career. I think he was not a 1st Round pick player and our Reggie made a mistake. DJ is just not a very good CB.