1. Karl Joseph, S
Karl Joseph was the forgotten man in the Raiders’ secondary last year — until he wasn’t. For a while, it seemed as though Joseph’s future in Oakland/Las Vegas was all but over.
After the team drafted Johnathan Abram in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, many expected that Joseph’s time as a member of the Raiders was up. After all, Abram was younger, more durable, and had a very similar skillset to his older teammate.
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In fact, it wasn’t even certain that Joseph would make the final 53-man roster as trade rumors emerged and there was even chatter that he could be released. Nonetheless, he made the team and proved incredibly valuable once Abram went down with a shoulder injury in Week 1.
Joseph would go on to start nine games before landing on the injured reserve himself with a foot injury. But the hard-hitting safety grew on head coach Jon Gruden, and now it seems like a reunion could be in the works.
If the plan is for defensive back Lamarcus Joyner to continue playing in the slot — which it seems like it is — then it makes little sense to create another hole in the secondary by letting Joseph walk.
Abram will hopefully be back healthy next season, but bringing Joseph back would at least ensure that the Raiders have two starting safeties going into free agency and the 2020 NFL Draft.
Given his modest production and injury history, it’s unlikely that there’s a huge market for the former West Virginia standout meaning that the Raiders could probably get him back for cheap.
And if that’s the case, they could certainly do much worse than going into 2020 with Joseph as a starter.
Just don’t ask him to cover tight ends.