Brandon Joseph 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report
- AP First-Team All-American as a redshirt freshman in 2020
- First Big Ten defender to log three interceptions in the first three games of the season since Malik Hooker and Marshon Lattimore (2016)
- Transferred to Notre Dame from Northwestern after three seasons with Wildcats
- Scheme tendencies: Aggressive even front defense (expected under Al Golden)
- 2022 projected role: Starting free safety
Pros: Brandon Joseph played well beyond his experience levels during a breakout 2020 campaign with the Wildcats. As a redshirt freshman in 2020, he led the team in interceptions (6) and added an additional eight passes defensed in just nine games played. He’s got tremendous ball skills and good instincts on the back end of an NFL-caliber defensive system that asks their secondary to do a lot. His zone coverage in the deep portions of the field is excellent. Northwestern implemented a lot of middle-of-the-field open coverage and showed a lot of quarters and charged Joseph with manning deep middle-of-the-field regions. It was a challenge that he answered without being conned or baited out of leverage—that is a consistent trend across both of his seasons of significant play to this point as he transitions to playing for the Irish. He’s long and fluid in transition and was even given assignments in the red area to work in the slot, such as when he blanketed Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson in the Big Ten Championship and logged a one-handed interception with a tremendous play on the ball. There’s not a lot that you should feel apprehensive about him being capable of handling in the pass game—he’s got a high football IQ and diagnoses route combinations quite well.
Cons: There are some regressions in Brandon Joseph’s play from the 2021 season that need to be accounted for and a new environment will provide an opportunity for Joseph to showcase himself in a better light. It appeared as though Joseph took a step back from an athletic standpoint last season, looking a step slower in the open field and in foot races than he was the year before. Additionally, Joseph struggled with consistency in his run fits, trending closer to the traditional free safety who you ideally don’t ask to be accounted for in the box. Can he rebound as a tackler? The Michigan backs tested in him a big way in 2021. Continued refinement in angles and further improved anticipation in the run game could help protect him and he’s already quite strong in this area against the past. I’m hoping to see more dynamic athleticism and confidence as a tackler in 2022 to reinforce his ability to be versatile and not just a ball hawk.
Brandon Joseph NFL Draft Scouting Report by Kyle Crabbs