The Detroit Lions should consider adding Karl Joseph.
Jon Gruden and the Las Vegas Raiders are electing to stay with their youth at the safety position and have made Karl Joseph available for the taking. Vegas drafted the highly regarded Tre’von Moehrig in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft, who will likely be paired with third-year safety Jonathan Abram.
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Vegas also selected Tyree Gillespie with the 143rd pick in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and Gruden appears comfortable rolling with a youthful backend.
Joseph, a former first-round selection of the Raiders, spent the first four years of his career with the organization before joining the Browns last season for one, then rejoining his former franchise this offseason. It was short-lived the second time around and somewhat surprising as Joseph figured to be a reliable mentor to the two rookie safeties previously mentioned.
Joseph turns 28 years old in a week but should be viewed as an upgrade over the Detroit Lions’ current projected starter at strong safety, Will Harris.
Despite having a down year with the Browns and only starting in eight of the 14 games he dressed for, Joseph has been a reliable run defender over the course of his career. Last season in Cleveland, he produced a mediocre 62.8 mark defending the run according to PFF, but in each of the three seasons prior, he hovered around the 80 mark, which is excellent. He’s missed 10.2% of his tackles in his five-year career.
On the other hand, Harris has missed 13.2% of his tackles in two seasons but a whopping 17% as a rookie when he played 668 defensive snaps. Last season Harris only played 312 snaps.
Last season Harris produced a below-average overall PFF mark of 50.5 and only 51.6 defending the run, which simply won’t cut it as a strong safety.
As it stands now, I expect the organization to search for a better running mate to pair with Tracy Walker, and a veteran like Joseph may be just what the doctor ordered for a youthful Lions secondary.