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“The Oakland Raiders Mindset on Day 1; In Depth Evaluation of Karl Joseph; Lot’s of Good, Little Bad”

 

karl joseph
First Round Selection for the Oakland Raiders, Karl Joseph S

Raiders Draft Day 1; What They Thought About:

I love draft day and it is always good to reconnect with old friends for the 17th time.  Draft day is special to us and we love it.

To start out I was shocked when ESPN was reporting that the Raiders were going to take William Jackson III out of Houston.  I watched him play in 3 games and he was kind of soft in my mind but he was a great athlete.  A rich man’s DJ Hayden.  The NFL and NFL junkies LOVE their athletes but I only love athletes if they have an instinct for football.

Reggie Ragland was plummeting like a stone due to a story that broke that he had an enlarged aorta.  That isn’t rare and he can live a normal life with yearly checkups.  Problem is the hyper neurotic NFL is NOT going to want to take a chance like that.

Myles Jack (does any of these agents ever tell their clients to keep their mouths shut?) in another “I’m an open book” moment told Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post/NFL that he has a degenerative condition that may require microfracture surgery in the future.  In an innocent tweet, Hubbuch reported this.  Jack’s exact quote was, “If I can play 3 years in the NFL then that would be above average.”  Yikes.  Bart confirmed that’s what Jack said.  Yes kids I did my homework so you don’t have to!

Injury reports are a hit or a miss thing.  Remember Star Lotulelei?  The Utah DL stud was considered a top 3 pick but in pre draft checkups he had a heart condition that was created by a bad virus he had.  After two weeks he was cured of the virus and his heart function was normal but that didn’t matter.  The NFL freaked out and he dropped like a stone to Carolina at #14 and now he stars for Carolina who just went to the Super Bowl.  In my 2013 draft I picked Star; the Raiders picked DJ Hayden. (ok ok, the counseling about the Raiders bad drafts didn’t cure me after all).

In last years draft 15 minutes before the first pick ESPN radio announced that Leonard Williams shoulder may need surgery and he may be out for the year.  The top 2-4 pick dropped to 6.  The shoulder injury was from 2013 and since then  Williams didn’t miss a game.  Remember ESPN saying Carr broke his wrist before the season last year?  You have to be careful with all these rumors; many of these reports are to freak people out so they will listen or read what they’ve created.  Oh those ad dollars will make you lie like a beast.

One thing that many have talked about outside of California is just how little California fans watch and like college football.  Many really don’t know much about the players other than highlight tapes.  Nothing wrong with that but it’s just not their thing. I feel like an SEC/Big 10 guy sometimes trapped in a Pac 12 body.  I love college football so much and on a cold & wet Saturday, good food, good company, a fire and lots of college games is a joy to me.

Why Karl Joseph?:

First off in my draft I chose DL Shaq Lawson.  I had Joseph as a late first rounder or early second round talent.  The Raiders wanted Karl Joseph in the second round but they didn’t think he’d last until their pick.  I think the Raiders also felt Reggie Ragland was going to fall like a rock and he has.  I think no way without that health report is he not going in the first round.

Even though this wasn’t a great value pick in my mind, the Raiders may have thought that Ragland would be there to them in the second round so in reality they would get their safety and their MLB.  If that was their thinking, wow is that smart.  If not, then you just hope it works out.

The Raiders need a starting MLB in This Draft.

Other than Ragland I don’t think any of the MLB draft choices are ready to start.  It’s a bad year for MLB.  There may be a dark horse.  I do love Scooby Wright III out of Arizona though because he is just a ball hawk and a tackling machine so picking him up wouldn’t be the dumbest thing.  Some have him going round 3, others on day 3.  Critics say he’s not fast enough to cover the pass but they said the same thing about Zach Thomas and recently 49ers Chris Borland and they excelled big time.  Wright is a tough, smart football player and I get him in the 3rd or 4th round all day.  He’s too talented to not have on the field and even as a backup he’s much better than Ben Heeney.

(I’m not a big highlight video guy; the games are what shows the truth but just a few plays to let people know who he is.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_M1PTdQyRVY

The Positives of Karl Joseph;

(Read above; I’m not a big highlight video guy; anyone can look good in them; but here is a little sample of Karl’s good plays.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L88OIVNvsVA

Grades from Yahoo Sports to ESPN had this pick as a C- to a B+.  I predict he will be a huge fan favorite.  He’s an old school safety that loves to tackle and hit people.  He has a passion for football and is a born leader.  His technique is solid and he often hits runners flush.  If you are looking for an NFL combine genetic freak who runs 4.3 40’s then this isn’t your guy.  Karl is one thing; a football player.  The word that is used most to describe Joseph is that he is a thumper.  He’s a physical player who loves to hit people.  He’s a good tackler and is excellent against the run, mixed in with quality pass coverage talent.  His weight is between 195-205 lbs. so at 5’ 10” he’s not a huge guy.

Remember that newly signed S Reggie Nelson is going to be 33 in September so he’s only going to be playing in Oakland for 1-2 years.  Safety will be a priority.

Some will say oh great, Mike Mitchell 2.  But that’s not the case.  Joseph is a good cover guy and is a ball hawk.  He’s smart with good instinct.  He plays very physical football and rarely misses tackles.  Mitchell was just a hitter who could run fast.

At 5’ 10” people are calling him a poor mans Bob Sanders, the Colts great safety (Sanders was 5’ 8” or 5’ 9” depending on who you asked).  A compact guy who always seemed to be around the ball making plays.  Joseph is a very confident player with football smarts who should fit in nicely with the Raiders defense. Look for the Raiders to put Reggie Nelson at Strong Safety and Joseph to Free Safety.

The negatives:

He’s coming off an October ACL injury and probably will not be 100% the first part of the season.

Before he got hurt he ran a legitimate timed 4.6 40 which isn’t burning up anyone’s speed meter (he ran from 4.5 to 4.7) but he’s fast enough.  He’s a risk taker at times and sometimes got burned trying to do too much.  For good or bad, with his slower 40 time, Al Davis doesn’t make this pick.

Many wonder with his size and style of play can he stay healthy.  Bob Sanders was a beast when he played but he was hurt; a lot.  As people saw with Charles Woodsen, he said he wanted to play 10 more years after week 6.  The Raiders then put LB’s on the tight ends because the Raiders were struggling covering TE’s and this freed Woodsen up to stop the run and he took a beating.  He announced he was retiring after week 14.  Playing safety in the NFL is a rough go and a healthy one is key to having success.

Was Choosing Joseph a good pick:

NO ONE.  I mean NO ONE has been as honest as I have been about the Raiders and their draft picks for the last 13 years.  I’m not a homer and I’m not a hater; that’s why both those groups don’t like me sometimes.  I deal with what is and not with what might be.  I have the following I have for a reason and that’s because like or dislike what I write, you get honesty.

That being said, I say this is a solid B+ pick.  I like Joseph’s instinct and hitting ability.  He has great technique and he’s a ball hawk.  Another swagger guy but he has a passion for the game and is a born leader.  These are the guys the Raiders are stock piling.

He’s smart and a good solid player that will make plays at safety.  He loves hitting and tackling and if he can stay healthy, he will be a solid player for years to come.  He’s not Jack Tatum but he’s also not Mike Mitchell, Patrick Bates or Derrick Gibson.  I don’t think Joseph is a top 15 pick but there was no way he was going to be there in the 2nd round so I understand the pick and it’s all good.

If the Raiders get Ragland in round two than I give this pick a big fat A +.  The Raiders still need a MLB desperately but this is a nice start to the draft.

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“NFL Draft Strategy & The History of Oakland Raiders Draft Picks; The 16th Annual Draft Party!”

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I have always been fascinated by the NFL draft. As a little kid I remember watching it with my dad and seeing Dr. Z, Paul Zimmerman use his dry humor to predict what each team was going to do. He was funny and was the first to really break the draft down into what it is today.  I also knew how my mom would not be happy about it and my dad and I having to do chores afterwards to keep her happy.  Happy wife, happy life.

Starting in 2000, I started to host a NFL draft party. The first rule was no girlfriends or wives, and that each person had to draft for their own team. We would keep our picks and our notes so the following years we could read what we wrote. We give out awards every year to the best and worst picks of the prior 3 years. I have kept a log full of notes and picks.

First off, I HAVE NO IDEA who the Raiders are going to pick. I don’t know what they are thinking and even if they say they are looking at a player, many times teams leak lies to fool the other teams into trades or other things.

My strategy? I don’t draft for need unless the player warrants being picked that high. For instance if the Raiders need a defensive tackle and there are no defensive tackles that warrant being picked at #4, I’d pick the best player available instead and wait for the next round to pick for a need that I had.

I remember going away from that in 2002 with the Napoleon Harris Pick.   The Raiders were desperate for a middle linebacker and Harris was the best one out there in a draft that didn’t have many good linebackers. In reality he was just an ok player and he never panned out. I’ll never do that again.

Don’t be bullied by people. There are site owners and web pages that practically tell you who to pick, how to think and how to feel and that is a sign of huge insecurity. I remember being kicked off sites when I said DHB was a terrible pick. I was called a 49er fan when I said Jamarcus Russell was a huge mistake. And my friends still laugh at me for falling on the floor when the Raiders passed up on California great Aaron Rodgers to get Nebraska defensive back Fabian Washington.

Some fans will like ANYONE that is picked by their teams, but if you don’t like a pick, it’s ok not to. If you like a guy it’s also cool to say why and go from there. Remember, facts are always greater than opinions, assumptions and hopes.

Here is a list of the Raiders draft picks and my picks. I’m not saying I know more but it is what it is.

2000 Raiders pick: Sebastian Janikowski K Florida St.

Jim’s Pick: Shaun Alexander RB Alabama

(Alexander was a stud at Alabama and is a borderline hall of famer; only Seahawk MVP in a season; most yards rushing in Seattle history. Jano has become a solid kicker but he’s never really had to play on the big stage)

2001 Raiders pick: Derrick Gibson DB Florida St.

Jim’s Pick: Kendrell Bell LB Georgia

(Bell was defensive rookie of the year & a key member of the Steelers but several bad knee injuries derailed his career.   He had to retire after the 2007 season due to his knees. Gibson is one in a long line of DB draft busts)

 

2002 Raiders/Jim’s pick: Phillip Buchanon CB Miami Fla.; Napoleon Harris LB Northwestern

(Neither panned out and were considered busts)

2003 Raiders pick: Nnamdi Asomugha CB California; Tyler Brayton DE Colorado

Jim’s Pick: Nnamdi Asomugha CB California; Boss Bailey LB Georgia

(Aso was very good; Bailey was an average player other than one year and Brayton was a solid backup with spurts of being an average starting player at Carolina)

2004 Raiders pick: Robert Gallery T Iowa

Jim’s Pick: Larry Fitzgerald WR Pittsburgh

(Fitzgerald is a probable hall of famer. Gallery was considered a bust at tackle but became a solid guard. He never became the player the Raiders thought he would be though. Retired in 2012)

2005 Raiders pick: Fabian Washington S Nebraska

Jim’s Pick: Aaron Rodgers QB California

(Rodgers is a future hall of famer. Washington was another DB bust)

2006 Raiders pick: Michael Huff S Texas

Jim’s Pick: Matt Leinart QB USC

(Leinart was a lazy party frat boy, bust. Huff was somewhat soft and was an average player at best; another DB bust. He’s listed as a Denver Bronco but he has barely played in the NFL after leaving the Raiders in 2012, and didn’t play last year.)

2007 Raiders pick: Jamarcus Russell QB LSU

Jim’s Pick: Calvin Johnson WR Georgia Tech

(Megatron is a future hall of famer. I actually thought about Adrian Peterson who was a monster at Oklahoma.  After Russell was cut, 2 large Raiders web site owners emailed me personally apologizing me for the abuse they and the fans on the Raiders sites gave me about Russell when I said he would be a bust. I accepted their apology and signed up again on the sites but I don’t go on them.)

2008 Raiders/Jim’s Pick: Darren McFadden RB Arkansas

(other than one year he could not stay healthy and never could equal his physical college style)

2009 Raiders Pick: Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Maryland

Jim’s Pick: Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech

(DHB was a bust as I predicted and is pretty much a special teams player at Pittsburgh and rarely plays as a WR. Crabtree has had a fairly good career; time will tell with him)

2010 Raiders/Jims Pick: Rolando McClain LB Alabama

(emotional issues, big bust)

2011 Raiders/Jims Pick: Stefen Wisniewski C Penn St.

(2nd Round; Raiders had no 1st round pick)

(good at guard ok at center; lost to free agency)

2012 Raiders Pick: Tony Bergstrom T Utah

Jim’s Pick: Frank Alexander DE Oklahoma

(Raiders did not have a 1st or 2nd round pick)

(Both are backups; Alexander was suspended for 4 games for substance abuse)

2013 Raiders Pick: DJ Hayden DB Houston

Jim’s Pick: Star Lotulelei DL Utah

(Lotulelei has solidified the Panthers run defense. Hayden has been a bust so far and was a puzzling pick. An athlete with little football instinct and really wasn’t all that great in college)

2014 Raiders/Jims Pick: Khalil Mack LB Buffalo

(Rushed the qb much better in the second half. Solid year with a lot of potential)

These are just some of the players I picked. Could you imagine them as Raiders?

Aaron Rodgers

Calvin Johnson

Larry Fitzgerald

Shaun Alexander

Star Lotulelei

Michael Crabtree

 

Let’s look at some of the trends and reasons why the Raiders have missed on so many picks:

The Raiders defense has struggled mightily in the last 12 years. Do you notice the trend? NO defensive linemen chosen in the first round since 1997!   The Raiders forgot that the most important part of your team after the quarterback is the defensive line. You DON’T build a defense with defensive backs.   You get a DL to stop the run and rush the passer and then go from there.

The main problem I’ve had with Mr. Davis draft picks is that he always felt the team was better than they really were. He seemed to be in denial like some who felt this team was close to winning when they were obviously not. When you lose 11 games year after year you lack talent in a big way.

I feel the NFL combines really ruined Mr. Davis. I don’t pay attention to the combines. He became obsessed with DB’s 40 times in gym shorts and loved weight room junkies like Robert Gallery. Darrius Heyward-Bey who was a ridiculous pick, gained his millions purely from his NFL combine 40 time. Gallery had a great college career but he became a legend due to his amazing NFL combine stats just like New York Jets bust Vernon Gholston.

I saw Larry Fitzgerald play several times and even with him being triple teamed on occasion, he still had huge games. Calvin Johnson was a man among boys. I would love them on the Raiders. And if I heard how far Jamarcus Russell could throw on his knees at the NFL combines one more time, I was going to lose it.

I pointed out to many how he struggled mightily against pro style defenses like Auburn who made him look lost, as well as his lack of accuracy.   Russell made his money in his last bowl game against the 104th ranked defense destroying Notre Dame.

Aaron Rodgers was a no-brainer and every draft expert was shocked when the Raiders went with Fabian Washington. Again, they drafted for need and Washington had the fastest 40 time in the NFL combines of any DB. They forgot to look at how he struggled in coverage at Nebraska, and that he was more of an athlete than a player with football instinct.

My big mistake was Matt Leinart. In College he was a stud, with great accuracy and instinct. Once he got the big money in the NFL though, he immediately was a regular on the party circuit and his lack of work ethic was of legend. Young girls began to put photo’s up of him slobbering drunk in clubs. A total waste.

Who will the Raiders take? If it were me and he is there, I take Leonard Williams the DL from USC. With the present NFL movement, the Raiders probably have the worst pass rush in the NFL and you can’t win without a pass rush.

Our draft parties have been so much fun. Unfortunately it has also been a time where I can tell my fellow Raider fans I told you so on all of the terrible picks from the previous years.   it’s a lot more fun to smile about good past draft picks than head scratching mediocre to bad draft busts.

So cool down the beer and ice tea, get the food out and welcome to the 16th annual NFL draft party! Who are you picking?