Steelers Elevate Ex-Raiders First-Round Pick, Release Offensive Guard

Karl Joseph

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images Jesse James of the Pittsburgh Steelers gets tackled by Karl Joseph #42 and Tahir Whitehead #59 of the Raiders on December 9, 2018.

On Saturday the Pittsburgh Steelers made several roster moves in anticipation of the team’s Sunday Oct. 10 home game against the Denver Broncos.

The move that will attract the most notice is the elevation of safety Karl Joseph from the practice squad to the active/inactive roster. Joseph is a former Raiders first-round pick who was added to Pittsburgh’s practice squad just prior to the start of the season. He appeared in 14 games for the Cleveland Browns last season (with eight starts) and recorded 66 total tackles, four passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and an interception, this according to

Joseph has been in the league since 2016, when the Raiders selected him No. 14 overall out of West Virginia. Thus far he has appeared in 63 career games and has been responsible for five interceptions and 19 passes defensed, as per Pro Football Reference. After the game against the Broncos, Joseph will automatically revert to the practice squad without having to pass through waivers.

Cody White Gets a Promotion

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh also signed wide receiver Cody White to its 53-man roster from the practice squad. White has been active for the past two games, having been elevated from the practice squad to play against the Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals. He had the first two receptions of his NFL career against the Bengals. This week he figures to stand in for No. 4 wide receiver James Washington, who was ruled out of the Broncos game on Friday with a groin injury.

White was originally added to Pittsburgh’s practice squad on Sept. 24, 2020, and remained with the Steelers through the rest of the 2020 season. He was re-signed to a one-year Reserve/Future contract in January 2021, only to get waived on Aug. 31 and re-signed a day later.

Rashaad Coward Gets Cut

To make room for Cody White on the roster, the Steelers released offensive guard Rashaad Coward, who, like Washington, had already been ruled out for the Broncos game. The Steelers signed Coward in late March 2021, a free agent addition that would have received relatively little attention, except for the fact that an online gamer/Green Bay Packers fan broke the news of the deal.

Coward worked with the first-team offensive line through all of the offseason program and into training camp. But he was part of the team’s final round of roster cuts on Aug. 31, only to be brought back on Sept. 1, 2021. The 26-year-old has 30 games of NFL experience with the Chicago Bears, but he did not appear in a regular-season game during his relatively brief tenure with the Steelers.

Without Coward on the team the Steelers are very thin at guard behind starters Kevin Dotson and Trai Turner. B.J. Finney remains the primary backup with J.C. Hassenauer and Joe Haeg also able to play the position, though they are much more likely to be used at center and tackle, respectively. The only offensive guard on the practice squad is first-year player Malcolm Pridgeon, who played his college ball at Ohio State and originally joined the Steelers on Aug. 9, 2021.

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