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WVU safety Karl Joseph's high football character could interest Redskins

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WVU safety Karl Joseph's high football character could interest Redskins

Redskins draft countdown

The NFL draft is 34 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players Scot McCloughan will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how he might fit in Washington.

Karl Joseph
Safety
West Virginia

Height: 5-10
Weight: 205
40-yard dash: --

Projected draft round: 2-3

What they’re saying
Fiercely competitive with immense football character. Different teams may have differing opinions of how best to utilize him, but Joseph has proven he can make plays in man coverage or play disciplined enough to be trusted on the back. His average size and subsequent durability will concern some teams due to his aggressive, attacking demeanor; however, Joseph is talented enough to become an early starter and high-impact safety down the road if the medicals check out.
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: I don’t think I have to go into much detail about the Redskins’ need at safety, which is entering its 10th year. Earlier this week Jay Gruden called it an area of "great concern". They are taking a safety by committee approach right now but they would like to solidify the position and Joseph could be the guy to do that.

When you see the words “immense football character” in the evaluation above, you immediately think of the kind of player that Scot McCloughan likes to collect. Joseph graduated from high school early and enrolled at West Virginia so he could participate in spring practice. He won the starting job and as a true freshman he was the Mountaineers’ defensive player of the year with 104 tackles, seven for loss, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles.

He could have entered the 2015 draft but he decided to stay. His “reward” was a season-ending knee injury he suffered in a non-contact portion of practice.

The injury deprived West Virginia of plays like this one:

Potential issues: Obviously the knee will have to check out. Joseph did not participate in any combine drills, certainly understandable after having suffered the injury in early October. It seems reasonable that he could be ready for training camp, which would start almost 10 months after the injury.

At 5-10, 205, his size is another concern. McCloughan would probably prefer a safety with more length. And there are legitimate concerns that the impact of his hard hits could shorten his career.

Bottom line: Mike Mayock called Joseph a “poor man’s Earl Thomas” and we know how McCloughan likes Legion of Boom style defensive backs. If his knee checks out the presence of a high-character top performer at a position of need would put him under serious consideration by McCloughan if he’s there in the second round. If he is there in the third you could probably measure him for a Redskins uniform.

But with the need for safeties outstripping the supply, the chances that Joseph will make it to the latter stages of the second round seem iffy. We will see how things shake out.

Previously in Redskins draft countdown:

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Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins went into today’s game against the Cardinals somewhat banged up and they exit with a couple of additional injury concerns in the form of concussions.

Center Spencer Long left the game in the second quarter. Initially it was announced that he had been evaluated for a concussion but that he had been cleared. But after halftime the word came down that he had been retested and it was determined that he does have a concussion. Long has entered the concussion protocol.

Veteran John Sullivan, picked up earlier this season when Kory Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve, filled in a center the rest of the way. He is a capable fill-in but if Long is out he would be the only available center. The Redskins might have to sign a center if it looks like Long will be out of action against the Eagles.

In the fourth quarter safety Will Blackmon left the game. According to Redskins coach Jay Gruden he was being evaluated for a concussion and a stinger. His exact status is unknown. Gruden will give more information during a conference call with reporters on Monday.

[MORE: JOSH NORMAN ON HIS CRUCIAL FOURTH-QUARTER PENALTY]

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Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins had a couple of chances to stop what would eventually turn into the Cardinals’ game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter. The first one came when they went for it on fourth and one at their own 34. It was a gutsy call by Arizona coach Bruce Arians and David Johnson make him look smart by popping off a 14-yard run.

The Cards earned that one. But it looked as though they got something of a gift a few plays later when Josh Norman was flagged holding receiver Larry Fitzgerald. It was a borderline call, granting Arizona a gift third and five conversion. Two plays later Carson Palmer went in for the kill, throwing a 42-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Nelson.

On the field, Norman seemed to be none too pleased with the penalty flag. He said after the game that he thinks that Fitzgerald may have stolen a flag.

“He [Fitzgerald] was within five yards. Larry is a wily vet,” said Norman. “I'd been doing it all game, kind of . . . He breaks out and I go for the ball and the flag got thrown. We'd like to see that not happen in that situation because there was some good position, some good leverage. And a flag came out.

“It is what it is. You can't blame a call on that, blame a call on this. It's whatever, man.”

Norman is right. The Redskins blew plenty of chances to take control of the game and the blame can be spread around on both sides of the ball. But the flag will loom large as the Redskins try to shake off this loss and get ready for the Eagles next week.

[MORE: ANGRY JAY GRUDEN SAYS REDSKINS 'NOT EVEN CLOSE' TO THINKING ABOUT PLAYOFFS]