Playing behind one of the Nation’s best defensive lines at Clemson, Joseph has been an unheralded playmaker for the Tigers’ defense over the course of the last two seasons. Racking up 202 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and two interceptions in his two season’s as a starter, Joseph is primed for a big senior year as on of four projected senior defensive starters for Clemson.
My favorite thing about Joseph is how sharp his mental processing skills are. He illustrates strong read-and-react skills and rarely takes the cheese for false keys. He plays with obvious preparation and has a strong feel for dissecting misdirection and counter plays. His football IQ shows up in pass defense where his feel for coverage spacing and zone awareness is excellent.
Joseph excels as a space player that closes windows, knives through gaps and excels in pursuit. He does well to break down in space and come to balance as a tackler while also a capable candidate for duties in man coverage.
The concerns with Joseph stem from his squatty frame and how it impacts his ability to play though blocks. While he offers a low center of gravity, offensive lineman have no issues blasting him out of gaps. Joseph is reliant on his ability to read plays quickly and get ahead of blocks or using his quickness and the expense of working out of his run fits. Bulking up and showcasing more play strength is critical during Joseph’s final year for his draft stock.
While Joseph might lack the ideal physical traits of an ideal NFL linebacker, the way he wins projects well to a pursuit-style and coverage linebacker role in the NFL.