Three Safeties for the Raiders to Avoid in the 2017 Draft

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Oct 30, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Oakland Raiders strong safety Karl Joseph (42) defends against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Oakland Raiders defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland safety, Karl Joseph, is different. That is to say, he forgets his frame when launching into the body of opponents. With reckless abandon and malice, Joseph focuses in on the ball carrier. There is nothing pretty or subtle. While there is a certain excitement, whoever fills the other safety spot needs to develop that chemistry with Joseph. In this year’s draft, several options exist. Some could fill the need. However, a couple of the safeties in the Raiders range are terrible fits. Here are a few.

Jabrill Peppers, Michigan: Many wish for the Michigan standout to line up in the same defensive backfield as Joseph. Regardless of their wishes, facts state different. First, for all of Peppers unique talents, his ball skills look subpar. One interception in three seasons at Michigan is not a great sign. Coupled with no forced or recovered fumbles and you’d ask the question of where was he. Film shows a safety that occasionally looks lost downfield, rather unsure of his job. Joseph needs his teammate to play a fantastic deep middle. Peppers haven’t shown that ability yet.

Budda Baker, Washington: As soon as Baker’s film rolls, his skillset leaps off the screen. He’s a rangy playmaker with ball skills, timing and instinct. On the other hand, the one area he cannot enhance or control makes him a terrible fit in Oakland. Listed at 5’10: and 194 pounds, Baker is much smaller than Joseph. Meanwhile in San Diego and Kansas City tight ends Hunter Henry and Travis Kelce froth at the mouth at a chance to line up against Baker. 5’10 looks like 4’10” versus 6=foot-6. While scouts tout Baker’s heart and drive, the last line of defense cannot employ smaller safeties. If Baker were three inches taller and 15 pounds heavier, he’d fit.


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Justin Evans, Texas A&M: Granted, Evans possesses the aggression and speed you’d love in a safety, he’s too similar to Karl Joseph. That is to say, his style of play mirrors what Joseph can. No doubt, Evans attempts to lay out a receiver in a minute. However, unlike Joseph, Evans will occasionally lose sight of the ball and target to wipe someone out. Plus, deeper throws appear to puzzle Evans. Certainly, two of anything could be great. Yet, similar safeties scream for vertical passes.

Obviously, the Raiders think highly of Karl Joseph. As a result of his high drafting in 2016, they expect him to man the secondary for years. Sooner or later, whoever replaces Reggie Nelson must possess great range and ball skills mixed with calm.

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  • Gabriel Martin

    Budda Baker is the same height, and weighs 9 lbs. less than Joseph. Not sure how that qualifies as a lot smaller, but…..o.k.