Former Raiders First-Round Pick Finds Landing Spot With AFC Team

karl joseph

Getty New Pittsburgh Steelers safety Karl Joseph.

Despite Karl Joseph making it clear that he wanted to return to the Las Vegas Raiders, he’s now headed to a different AFC team. According to Ian Rapoport, Joseph is going to sign a one-year deal with the Cleveland Browns.

The safety was a first-round pick by the Raiders in 2016, but thanks to a number of injuries, he never fully reached his potential. Joseph was having a strong year in 2019 before suffering a season-ending injury against the Los Angeles Chargers. He’s a hard-hitting safety and should be good enough to start in Cleveland. Injuries will always be a concern with Joseph as he’s never played a full 16 games in a season. With a fresh start with the Browns, perhaps he can finally live up to status as a first-round draft pick.

What Is the Raiders’ Plan at Safety?

The decision to let Karl Joseph walk doesn’t come as a surprise. The Raiders didn’t pick up his team option heading into 2019 and the fact that he missed almost half the season didn’t help his chances. Once the team made a deal with former Dallas Cowboy Jeff Heath, the writing was on the wall for Joseph.

As of now, it looks as if the starting safeties for the Raiders will be Johnathan Abram and Heath. Erik Harris is still around and he’ll see the field every once in a while, but Heath is probably the favorite to start. There’s almost no way Abram isn’t a starter as long as he’s healthy. The Raiders seem convinced that he’s going to be a star. Like Joseph, there are injury concerns with Abram as he missed 15 games with a shoulder injury during his rookie campaign. However, if he can stay healthy, he could be a stud for the team. It’s obvious he has the drive to be the best in the game. He just needs to hope his body holds up.

Jonathan Abram details his relationship with Raiders coach Jon Gruden | NBC Sports Bay AreaLas Vegas Raiders safety Jonathan Abram joins Scott Bair on Super Bowl LIV Radio Row to discuss his relationship with coach Jon Gruden and breaks down the team's 2019 rookie class. #superbowl #nfl #radiorow GET MORE RAIDERS COVERAGE Subscribe: MyTeams App: CONNECT Follow us on Instagram: Like us on Facebook:…2020-01-31T05:12:53.000Z

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Will Raiders Add More Safeties?

Heath started a lot of games on a strong Cowboys defense, so it’s easy to assume he’ll have the same role with the Raiders. Abram is going to get every chance to hold down that starter spot. As of now, it looks like the team has its two starting safeties for 2020. That said, Las Vegas could look to further upgrade the position.

Curtis Riley is a free agent and he struggled quite a bit whenever he hit the field. It’s doubtful the team brings him back. Erik Harris is a solid depth player, but the Raiders should bring in at least one more guy. George Iloka is an interesting name to watch. He’s a Paul Guenther guy and started a lot of games for the Raiders’ defensive coordinator. Iloka was out of football in 2019 but is only 29 years old and could still be a good player in the right defense. The team could also look later in the draft to bring in a safety prospect. Regardless, expect them to add at least one more player at the position.

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