While it shouldn’t come as a big surprise, West Virginia safety Karl Joseph will not be able run for teams prior to the 2016 NFL Draft, according Gil Brandt on Twitter. Joseph, who suffered a non-contact injury to his right knee last October that required surgery, should be ready for start of training camp, however.
Had Joseph not injured his knee last season, he probably would be considered a first-round lock this year. That still might ultimately happen, however, assuming his knee checks out at his medical recheck.
If the Steelers are planning on drafting Joseph this year, they would likely have to do so in the first round with their 25th overall selection, assuming he’s still on the board. However, should Joseph fall out of the first round completely, it’s doubtful he would still be on the board come time for the Steelers to pick in round two.
Investing a first-round draft pick in a player who wasn’t able to run prior to the NFL’s annual selection event is something the Steelers have done before. In fact, recently retired tight end Heath Miller failed to do much of anything prior to the 2005 NFL Draft as he was still recovering from a hernia operation. Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has told that story several times over the years.
“He [Heath] had a sports hernia, which prevented him from participating at both the Combine and also at his pro day, because he never was 100 percent,” Colbert said previously. “We had to make a decision on whether to draft him, and we did decide to draft him without ever timing him.”
As long as a player has enough college tape to evaluate and assuming whatever injury they might be rehabbing from checks out with a team’s medical staff, there’s no reason to bypass a player just because he failed to take part in the pre-draft process. Joseph is one player who certainly has a lot of good tape as he played in and started 42 games at West Virginia.
Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin were present at the West Virginia pro day even though they both knew Joseph wouldn’t be participating. While the team has yet to bring Joseph in for a visit, there’s still time for that to happen.