Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Athletic Defender have hyped the Lions’ “Surprise Impact Rookie” for 2022

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With many picks in the 2022 NFL draft, the Detroit Lions focused on their defense, and with good reason. This group struggled last season and lacked key depth. The good news? Some new rookie players might be ready to jump right in.

Although the league selected many fascinating players, not all will be able to make a quick impact on their new teams. Luckily for Detroit, they have a man who many believe is capable of doing it.

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Recently, Bleacher Report and author Alex Ballentine took a look at picking some surprise rookies for 2022, and interestingly, safety Kerby Joseph made the list. This came despite Joseph being a bit rough on the defensive, but Ballentine identified a key trait Joseph has in his ability to play the deep ball. That could allow him to show up and impress when he comes onto the field.

As Ballentine wrote, “Will Harris, who finished 91st out of 92 qualifying safes by Pro Football Focus last season, could be Joseph’s main rival when it comes to playing deep safety.”

If that’s the case, Joseph might impress when he sees the field. Harris has been a mixed bag when it comes to safety, so that could be the key to the rookie’s quick success. With his athleticism, it might not be long before this played out.

Joseph is a solid athlete, and that’s reflected in the fact that he played wide receiver before playing safety and did double duty while in college. That experience helped sharpen his focus as he got into the NFL, where Joseph is now a home defense player and has developed enough to play there. Luckily for Joseph, he may have more time to hone his league skills and learn defense before being let loose. While many see Joseph as having a chance to make a quick impact, the Lions could choose to play it safe with him and bring him up slowly. DeShon Elliott could start opposite Tracy Walker and give Joseph time to get up to NFL speed. Joseph, as Ballentine suspects, could spell out Elliott and see a run in terms of the long game at the back end.

Regardless of what happens, it’s wise to expect the Lions to test Joseph and give him plenty of early runs in Detroit.

However, it’s not all just Blitz with Joseph. Safety also has a lot of substance to his game, statistically and otherwise. Joseph was quickly able to produce some numbers showing him as a big Ballhawk. It’s a trait that will serve him well once he gets into the league. Joseph has 116 tackles, 5 interceptions, 6 passes defended and 1 forced fumble. Most of that production came in his senior year.

Here’s a look at some of his best plays with the Fighting Illini in college:

Joseph will make his move to the NFL with a great opportunity to rise and become a major contributor. His athleticism and quality traits on the field could help him become a player who sees the field quickly for Detroit and makes a big impression in the process.

When it happens, everyone can remember what the shot was called by Bleacher Report in May.

CONTINUE READING: Lions added former Georgia, Rams linebacker from “Savage” to the roster

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