Ken Norton Jr. has been able to get his hands on a couple of his new toys, but one is still wrapped up in its packaging.
First-round pick Karl Joseph, a safety from West Virginia, isn’t expected to be ready until training camp after tearing his ACL during his senior season.
So while Norton, the Raiders’ defensive coordinator, has gotten a look at new cornerback Sean Smith and outside linebacker Bruce Irvin, Joseph has remained in the weight room and on the sidelines. (Free agent safety Reggie Nelson also has not practice, presumably due to an injury).
But Norton has seen enough in watching Joseph’s film to get excited about him making an immediate impact.
“The guy is explosive,” Norton said. “He’s around the football a lot. He’s a pack of dynamite.”
Competition during training camp will bear this out, but teams don’t often draft a first rounder at a position of need without plans to start him. And considering that in Joseph and Nelson’s absence, the starting safeties at practice have been Nate Allen and Dewey McDonald, it’s all the more obvious how much they’ll be relying on Joseph.
“Anytime you have a first-round draft pick, you expect an impact player,” Norton said. “We expect him to be that.”
Even Raiders stud pass rusher Khalil Mack said he’s looking forward to seeing Joseph get on the field.
“He’s not on the field with us yet, but we’re just excited to see what he’s going to be able to do for us as well,” Mack said.