Karl Joseph wasn’t able to join his fellow Raiders rookies on the field for rookie minicamp this past weekend, but the team’s No. 1 draft pick says he’ll be ready by the time training camp opens in late July.
Joseph, who had an injury to his right knee after five games at West Virginia in the 2015 season, attended the three-day camp this past weekend, but told the media he’s still rehabbing the knee.
Head coach Jack Del Rio told Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com that it was important that Joseph, who could win a starting spot at safety, be in attendance, however.
“We got him here as quickly as we could, with all the rookies and Karl in particular,” Del Rio said. “The meetings that he’s involved in, we’re still able to walk it and talk it so we’re doing some of that.”
Del Rio said time now, learning the system, is key for Joseph’s development.
“We don’t get enough time with these guys and we’ve got to maximize the time we do get,” said Del Rio.
The Raiders hope Joseph can step in as a rookie to the position vacated by Charles Woodson, a future Hall of Famer who retired after the 2015 season.
Joseph is eager for the challenge and said he knows it’s important to be around the team – even if he can’t be on the field.
“It’s tough, just not being able to go out there and practice and learn the stuff, but I am still learning in meeting rooms,” he told reporters after the first day of the rookie camp. “Right now I am just focusing on rehabbing and getting healthy.”
One thing that was locked in this past weekend was Joseph’s jersey number. He’s been given No. 42, which was worn by Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott during his years with the Raiders after leaving San Francisco.
“It’s just an honor,” Joseph told Gutierrez, of wearing No. 42. “I am just going to try to represent as best as I can.”