2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Kerby Joseph

  • Kerby Joseph, 6-1/200

  • Safety

  • Illinois

  • Kerby Joseph Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Deep free safety ability
  • Impressive ball skills
  • Has some instincts
  • Covers a lot of ground
  • Size to take on big receiver
  • Good height, length

  • Weaknesses:
  • One-year wonder
  • Needs to improve eye discipline
  • Not a special run defender
  • Not a forceful tackler
  • Needs to get stronger
  • Not a great fit as a strong safety
  • Could be a backup-, special teams-caliber player

  • Summary: Joseph did not make much of an impact for the Illini over his first three seasons, totaling zero interceptions and 60 tackles. As a senior, however, he was one of the best safeties in the Big Ten, recording 57 tackles, five interceptions and two passes defended.

    Joseph is excellent in deep zone against the pass as a single-high free safety. That’s what he does best, and he was very good in that role for the Illini in 2021. He covers a ton of ground and uses his length to disrupt passing lanes. Joseph has good recognition skills to see coverage busts and close on receivers who could break open downfield. After further development, Joseph could be a good deep free safety in the NFL. He could play some man coverage on an average tight end, but he could struggle with tackling bigger receivers and tight ends after the catch. Joseph has very good ball skills and is a dangerous threat to pick off passes. With the upside to develop as he gains more experience, Joseph has the potential to be a dangerous ball hawk on the back end.

    As a run defender, Joseph can contribute, but he is nothing special. He can be late to get in on tackles downfield and is not a safety who delivers hard contact. Adding more strength to tackle NFL backs would not be a bad idea for Joseph, and adding strength is something that he will probably do as a result of aging while working out in a pro strength and conditioning program.

    “Joseph has good range and impressive ball skills,” said an NFC director of player personnel. “The word is he doesn’t have great timed speed, but I think he goes by the fourth.”

    Joseph could be a second-day pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, with some team sources believing he won’t make it out of Round 3. He could start out as a backup who contributes on special teams and perhaps eventually develop into starting at free safety in the NFL.

    Player Comparison: Jordan Whitehead. Joseph reminds me of Whitehead coming out of Pittsburgh. Whitehead was a better run defender, while Joseph has more deep cover skills, but they both were instinctive playmakers. Whitehead went in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, and Joseph could go in the same range this year.


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