With the 2016 NFL Draft now just a little more than one week away, it’s still hard to gauge what round West Virginia safety Karl Joseph might ultimately wind up being selected in.
Sure, had Joseph not injured his knee last season he more than likely would have been a lock to be selected in the first 20 picks. Like it or not, some teams will be hesitant to take Joseph in the first round due to his knee and on top of that, several other teams probably don’t have safety penciled in as a primary need early in the draft.
While Joseph said recently at his pro day that he expects to be ready for the start of training camp, a report filed Wednesday by Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports indicates that there are some concerns that the young safety won’t be ready by then.
“He’s going to need to miss some time,” an exec recently told La Canfora. “It’s really on us (the NFL teams) and not him. There’s no patience in this league. We hear the kid would probably be ready by Week 4, which is not a lot of time in the scope of his career, but we all want a kid who can step in and be ready for camp and play Week 1.”
La Canfora goes on to explain that during the annual medical re-checks in Indianapolis that players are given ratings from 1-5 based on risk by team medical staffs, with 5 being the worst. As for Joseph, he reportedly received a 3B rating from one team. Now, one team rating out of 32 is certainly hard to draw any conclusions from so please keep that in mind.
Is that news enough to keep Joseph out of the first round? Well, being as it only takes one team to take a chance on him within the first 31 selections, I would say probably not. However, I won’t be surprised if Joseph is still on the board midway through the second round. Will he fall to the Steelers in the second round? While most of you probably just answered no to that question, stranger things have happened during drafts.
Now, we all know that the Steelers have serious interest in Joseph and with good reason based on his play at West Virginia. Not only did they attend his pro day, they also brought him to Pittsburgh for a pre-draft visit. Oh, the Steelers also really need a safety this year and maybe even two of them. By now, you know they know enough about his knee to make an informed decision as to how they see his risk level and that’s all that really matters.
Joseph is now 6 full months removed from his surgery so it’s easy to speculate that he won’t be able to do much of anything between now and the start of training camp. In fact, there’s a good chance that he starts off camp on the Active/PUP list of whatever team ultimately drafts him. When it comes to the Steelers potentially drafting Joseph, they wouldn’t necessarily need to rush him along. Besides, even if he were fully healthy right now we all know his chances of starting by Week 1 wouldn’t be great.
If they wanted to, the Steelers could potentially let Joseph start the regular season on the Reserve/PUP list in order to give him another 6 weeks to strengthen his knee. From that point forward, he could then be eased into special team action with the plan being to get him some defensive snaps during the second half of the season. Keep in mind that even after the first 6 weeks of the season that Joseph would then be one full year removed from his surgery so that’s a believable time-frame.
Personally, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Joseph falls to the Steelers in the second round and I bet that’s what they’re hoping for as well.