Now that training camp has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we are seeing over the course of the offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: S Karl Joseph
Stock Value: Purchased
Reasoning: Though it has not happened yet, at least as of the time of this writing, it looks as though free agent safety Karl Joseph is the only player from outside of the Steelers’ 90-man roster who is slated to be on the 53 when the regular season begins.
The Steelers needed another offensive lineman; they got one in Trai Turner. The Steelers needed another outside linebacker; they got one in Melvin Ingram. The Steelers needed another inside linebacker; they got on in Joe Schobert. The Steelers needed another safety.
They got one, finally, in Karl Joseph, the former first-round draft pick whom they originally hosted on a free agency visit early on in the offseason process. The former Oakland Raiders draft pick, who spent last season with the Cleveland Browns, eventually did sign with the Las Vegas Raiders, but was cut on Tuesday, failing to make the 53-man roster.
The Steelers announced on Wednesday that they signed him to their practice squad, but it was reported that he would be promoted to the 53-man roster once he makes his way through the nearly week-long COVID-19 testing procedures.
While he may have never lived up to his draft stock, and he has had a history of injuries throughout his NFL career, Joseph will add valuable depth to a secondary that had been dealt multiple blows in that department since last season.
The Steelers lost Mike Hilton in free agency, and also had to part ways with Steven Nelson as a salary cap casualty. They also moved on from Sean Davis and Jordan Dangerfield at safety. Behind Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds, veteran special teamer Miles Killebrew and rookie seventh-round pick Tre Norwood are the only other safeties currently on the 53-man roster.
The sixth-year veteran has started 49 of 63 career games, recording 303 tackles, five interceptions, 19 passes defensed, one forced fumble, and three sacks. He has never played a full 16-game season in his career. He started eight of 14 games in 2020 in his lone season with the Browns.