by Brian Dean
on April 23, 2006 @ 04:00:59
South Carolina cornerback Johnathan Joseph is an interesting prospect. In 2003 he played a year at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas after his high school days as a track and football star. Joseph earned All-Conference honors at Coffeyville and was heavily recruited before leaving for South Carolina.
Joseph broke his foot in the second game of the 2004 season. He would get surgery and miss the rest of the season for the Gamecocks. In 2005 Joseph intercepted four passes, returning one for a touchdown, on his way to being named the team's Outstanding Defensive Back.
"It was a pretty tough decision," Joseph said about declaring early. "I had to talk to my mom, my dad, my uncle just to get the best decision. It was a pretty hard decision for me to make."
Table: Johnathan Joseph - Career Statistics (2003-05)
Joseph is a flat out burner. On film, he looks like he is moving a different speed than everyone else. His 4.31 40 time was the second fastest at the scouting combine, one-hundredth of a second slower than cornerback Tye Hill of Clemson. At 5-foot-11, 193 pounds, Joseph has prototypical size to go along with elite athleticism.
He is natural in man coverage and could be a shutdown player at the NFL level with more refined technique. Joseph isn't afraid to fill against the run and tackle well. He showed good ball skills as a senior to secure the interception. Joseph is also an explosive kick returner, averaging 23.5 yards on six returns.
The first thing you look at with Joseph is his inexperience. He only saw action in 14 games at South Carolina and is still very raw. His overall technique needs more development, especially zone coverage. Joseph is your classic high-risk, high-reward prospect. It is up to him how good he wants to be.
It will be interesting to see how this cornerback class plays out on draft day. Joseph is one of the late risers in the mix and could be the first true cornerback off the board. His size, speed and playmaking ability are equal or greater to 2005 first-round pick Adam Jones, who was drafted by the Tennessee Titans with the sixth pick overall.
The only question general managers need to answer is if Joseph's huge potential outweighs his inexperience. If so, he should be a first-round pick.
About Brian Dean
Brian "Birdman" Dean has been a contributor at KFFL since 2005. This musician and lifelong athlete is known at KFFL for his foresight and dead-on predictions, as witnessed by his back-to-back NFL mock draft title.
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