Future Looks Bright for Raiders' Karl Joseph

Rookie safety continues to draw praise following his first season, with one analyst seeing "Pro Bowls in his near future"

Arizona Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson, soon to be a free agent, created a stir this past weekend when he indicated in a tweet that he and the Raiders might have mutual interest if and when he hits the open market.

Jefferson, just 24, would be one of the best available safeties if the Cardinals let him walk. But Jefferson might be a very expensive addition, and the Raiders also are in good shape at safety with Reggie Nelson, who made another Pro Bowl in his first year in Oakland, and Karl Joseph, the team’s No. 1 pick in 2016 who was selected recently to the Pro Football Writers’ All-Rookie team.

Joseph, in fact, continues to draw praise for his production and potential.

This week, Conor Orr of NFL.com graded the rookie class for every AFC West team, and he gave the Raiders a “B” grade that he noted could actually be better, because several rookies didn’t have much of a chance to play because of being behind talented veterans.

Joseph, however, proved he was special even though injuries kept him out of four games and limited him in preseason.

“(Joseph) established himself as a fine starter with Pro Bowls in his near future,” wrote Orr. “Had Joseph not struggled with lingering injuries, he probably would have led Oakland in tackles (he finished fifth in tackles despite missing four games). This was the year Oakland found an identity, and Joseph’s hit-stick mentality will be a crucial component moving forward.”

In the regular season, Joseph was in on 60 tackles, had one interception and a fumble recovery. He added four tackles in the playoff loss to Houston.

Joseph recently said he’s eager to have a great offseason and come back stronger in the 2017 season.

Said Joseph: “I’m making the commitment to myself and this team to get better for next year.”

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