When Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie selected safety Karl Joseph with his No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, he talked about Joseph’s passion for the game, toughness and his prowess as a hitter.
“He’ll run and hit anything that moves,” said McKenzie.
But Raiders fans eager to watch Joseph for the first time in silver and black may have to wait a while. The former West Virginia standout may not play in Friday’s exhibition opener vs. the Arizona Cardinals Friday night.
The Raiders have so far been cautious with Joseph, who suffered a knee injury during his senior season with the Mountaineers. He’s been cleared by doctors to practice fully with the Raiders during this training camp, but has occasionally been held out to give his knee – he had surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament – time to rest.
That rest may extend through Friday’s preseason opener.
“We’ve still got a couple days, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t play in the first preseason game or two,” Joseph told Jimmy Durkin of the Bay Area News Group Tuesday. “It’s nothing to worry about. At the end of the day, I’m just trying to make sure I’m fully 100 percent ready for that first game.”
The Raiders are hoping for big things from Joseph. He’s already listed as a starter at safety on the team’s first depth chart of the season, alongside free-agent pickup Reggie Nelson.
Joseph says he’s thankful for the cautious approach the team is taking with him.
“They’re just doing a good job controlling it,” he told Durkin. “Obviously it’s hard just going back into it and going hard every day like that, so they’re doing a good job controlling it, getting me some much-needed rest, some days off.”
The goal, of course, is to have Joseph fit and ready to go for the regular-season opener Sept. 11 against the Saints in New Orleans.