Rookie Safety Karl Joseph
With the 14th pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders selected safety Karl Joseph out of West Virginia. The rookie was rehabbing from an injury during the offseason, but is now healthy and was on the field for the first practice of training camp. This is his first NFL camp and with veterans like safety Reggie Nelson in the secondary alongside Joseph, his development should be interesting to watch.
Here are some of Joseph's initial thoughts on camp:
Joseph talked about his first day back on the field.
"It feels great. This is what I've been working for since I got here so it feels great to get out there with all the veterans. It was a great first day and a great first start… This is what I've been doing my whole life. Having football being taken away from me makes me appreciate the game a lot more."
As a rookie, Joseph just wants to come in and learn from some of the veterans, in order to do his job the best he can.
"Just doing my job, that's it. Coach Jack [Del Rio] said make a big emphasis on that. That's one of the things he would tell me, to just not try to do too much, to just come in and listen to the veterans. Those guys have been there so they know what they are doing, so just come in and do my job, that's it."
Safety Reggie Nelson has already made an impact on Joseph.
"It helps a lot because he's been in the league for a long time playing at a high level. So just watching him and playing with him and knowing he's right next to me is giving me a lot more confidence. It eliminates a lot of mistakes on my part as well, just because he knows what he's doing. Watching him helps a lot."
Understanding the playbook is essential for Joseph to thrive in the defense, but seems to already have a good grasp on the game plan.
"The coaches are doing a great job explaining the defense to me. I think I'm getting it down. I took advantage of this offseason, getting into the playbook so I think I'm up to speed and I'm ready to go. So now I'm just about coming in and doing my job."
Joseph is known for playing the game with a chip on his shoulder, he opened up about what causes that mentality.
"I just always felt like I was the underdog. From high school everybody always thought that I wasn't good enough so I always felt like I had something to prove, and always played with that chip on my shoulder."
**Recently, former NFL safety Brian Dawkins was asked what current player emulates how he used to play, and he named Joseph as the closest player to himself.
"I didn't hear that, that means a lot. That's one of the guys I looked up to. When I first started playing the game, I used to watch his YouTube highlights all the time. I'd sit in front of the computer for hours just watching his highlights. So, that means a lot coming from him because he's one of the greatest to ever play the game."