Jets Need ‘Impactful’ Former First Rounder Expected to Be Cut by Steelers

Karl Joseph, Steelers

Getty Former Cleveland Browns DB Karl Joseph making a play during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas has thrived when making additions via the waiver wire.

Countless players that were considered another team’s trash became a treasure for the green and white. Now they need to hit the same magic when cut day approaches in August.

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Ahead of the massive six-week break for NFL players, every NFL reporter for ESPN revealed their early 53-man roster projections.

Brooke Pryor, who covers the Pittsburgh Steelers, gave a whack at the proverbial pinata and projected that former first-rounder Karl Joseph wouldn’t quite make the cut.

The 28-year-old originally entered the NFL as the No. 14 overall pick back in 2016 by the then Oakland Raiders.

He spent four years there and his fifth-year option was ultimately declined by the Raiders. After that, he signed a one-year deal with the Cleveland Browns in 2020. After a quick stop there Joseph most recently spent a season with the Steelers and was re-signed during free agency.

Joseph’s biggest problem throughout his career has been staying healthy. In his six years in the league, he has never played a full season.

Although when he has been on the field the 5-foot-10, 200-pounder has made his presence known:

  • Five interceptions
  • Over 305 total tackles
  • 20 pass deflections

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Right now the Jets have a ton of interesting options at the safety positon.

Some are players that switched positions, others are try-hards, but what they do lack is some premium juice.

There isn’t a single safety in the room that is a former first-round draft choice. Gang Green needs a talent upgrade and Joseph would be a worthy dart throw.

The former West Virginia product checks off a ton of boxes that would make him a natural fit with head coach Robert Saleh on the Jets:

  • Team captain, impactful leader
  • Plays with a passion, deep love of the game
  • Play-making safety
  • Versatile

All of those fun facts were courtesy of NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein’s NFL combine profile on Joseph coming out of college.

Those are all important traits that Saleh covets with members of his team.

We know that Jordan Whitehead, after signing a two-year deal to join the Jets in free agency will be one of the starters at safety, who the other will be is still a total mystery.

The good news is Whitehead possesses incredible versatility so he can line up anywhere. That completely opens up options for the Jets as they seek out his perfect complement on the football field.

It is unclear if the Jets will just settle with what they have in-house or if they’d be willing to dive into the free-agent waters. If they pick the latter, Joseph would be an amazing addition that could provide some real star power to a unit that is lacking it.


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