Las Vegas Raiders cut S Karl Joseph in second-stint with team. What's next for former first-round pick?

Cleveland Browns v Dallas Cowboys
Cleveland Browns v Dallas Cowboys

To get their roster down to 53 players, the Las Vegas Raiders released a large group that included WR John Brown and former first-round pick S Karl Joseph.

Karl Joseph was a 206th 1st-round selection by the Raiders at 14th overall. He was a 2014 1st-Team All-Big 12 player at West Virginia, and was originally scouted as a second or third-round talent and second-best safety.

He was drafted higher despite projected with a season-ending knee injury just months prior, Karl Joseph was a PFWA All-Rookie selection with 76 tackles, one INT, six passes deflected and a forced fumble. He played in 49 games for four seasons with the Raiders and had 41 starts.

In that span he also had with four INTs, 15 passes deflected, a forced fumble, three sacks, 236 tackles and nine tackles for loss. Injuries plagued his second year in the league, though. He was PFF's 23rd highest-graded safety in 2018.

The Raiders were rumored to be shopping Karl Joseph in 2018, and later declined his fifth-year option in 2019. He suffered a season-ending foot injury in Week 10, ending his tenure with the team at a low point.

In 2020, Karl Joseph played for the Cleveland Browns on a one-year deal, and had eight starts in 14 games with an INT, four passes deflected, 67 tackles and two tackles for loss.

In the Wildcard Round against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Karl Joseph recovered the infamous opening snap fumble by now-retired C Maurkice Pouncey, and scored a TD. In the Divisional Round, he picked off Chad Henne in a losing effort. Despite being a playmaker in the postseason, the Browns did not bring him back. Instead, Karl Joseph signed back with the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Raiders were hoping for Karl Joseph to play as a veteran in a group of youth in the secondary, including second-round S Tre'von Moehrig. Unfortunately for Karl Joseph, Moehrig transitioned to the NFL well while Joseph struggled to make an impact in the preseason. The Raiders cut Karl Joseph to make the 53-man roster deadline, and will run with the young secondary.

What's next for Karl Joseph?

What is next for the 27-year-old first-round bust? Outside of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Karl Joseph may have been the biggest safety released in the final roster cuts.

When healthy, Karl Joseph can play well enough to at least be considered for a starting role. However, he has never played a full 16-game season, and the NFL now has 17 games. Just because he's a first-round bust doesn't make him an overall bust in the NFL, though.He could still find a home in 2021 in the right situation.

Coming out of college, Karl Joseph's biggest weakness was: staying healthy. He would be best suited for a backup or rotational role until he learns the defense and shows durability. The New York Jets have one FS in Marcus Maye, with Saquan Hampton injured. Moreover, New York aren't guaranteed to keep Maye long-term after tagging him this season.

The Baltimore Ravens have a great defense with safety as a weak link. Karl Joseph could be depth behind DeShon Elliott and Chuck Clark to help push them to be better.

The Washington Football Team have a solid defense, but lack depth at certain positions, with safety being one of them. However, Karl Joseph isn't quite talented enough to compete as a starter, and the team may not want him.

With teams already having their 53-man final rosters, there is a chance one team could see further need at safety, and still view Karl Joseph as a valuable player.

The worst-case scenario is that Joseph has to wait until a team has an injury, and he would be one of the best options available for them. The ultimate worst-case scenario for Karl Joseph is that he gets another job in 2021, but gets injured, which could force him to rethink his stop-start NFL career and the wear and tear on his banged-up body.

Edited by Bhargav
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