First-round pick Karl Joseph is recovering from a knee injury, working to get back on the field for the Raiders.
But the team already likes what it has to work with, particularly defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.
“You see in the film, the guy is explosive,” Norton Jr. told the team's official website. “He loves ball. He’s around the football a lot. He’s a pack of dynamite. He’s a really good football player.
Joseph, 21, was selected by the Raiders with the No. 14 overall pick out of West Virginia.
The 5-foot-10, 205-pound safety brings a reputation as an explosive hitter. Joseph projects to play next to big-ticket free-agent signing Reggie Nelson, who last year led the NFL in interceptions.
"The more good football players you get on the team, the better you get," Norton Jr. added. "Anytime you have a first-round draft pick, you expect an impact player. We expect him to be that.”
As Joseph rounds back into form physically, he's been able to absorb the Raiders' scheme from a mental standpoint.
“That’s more important than anything,” Joseph told Raiders.com. “The mental part of the game is more important than physical.
"I’m definitely trying to take everything in, especially since I’m already behind with all those guys that know everything going on, so I’m trying to take -– especially this summer -– trying to take this downtime and get in the playbook and understand the defense.”
When in a groove, Joseph brings a presence on the field that also shows up on the stat sheet. Over his four seasons with the Mountaineers, he racked up 274 tackles, 16.0 tackles for loss, two sacks, nine interceptions, seven pass breakups, three forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.
His five picks last year were a personal best, despite playing just four games.
“I can’t wait to put pads back on and just get out there and compete with those guys,” Joseph said. “That’s when I feel like everything will go back to normal, once I get that hit out. It feels like it’s been so long. It’s been a long time, man. I’m just ready and anxious to get back out there.”