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Kelvin Joseph to Cowboys in NFL Draft

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Joseph joins one of the NFL’s most historic franchises.

Kentucky vs Tennessee Photo by /Collegiate Images/Getty Images

Former Kentucky Wildcats DB Kelvin Joseph has been drafted 44th overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2021 NFL Draft. He joins linebacker Jamin Davis (19th overall to the Washington Football Team) as former Wildcats to be selected in this year’s draft, and they’ll end up facing in each other in the NFC East.

Joseph, who joined Kentucky following a transfer from LSU in 2019, picked off four passes in nine games played at boundary cornerback in 2020. He notched his first career interception in the win over Mississippi State, then followed that up with a 41-yard pick-six at No. 18 Tennessee the following week, helping set the tone for the Cats’ 34-7 victory that ended a 36-year drought in Knoxville. He also chipped in 25 total tackles and one pass deflection for the season.

However, Joseph opted out of the season prior to Kentucky’s regular-season finale vs. South Carolina. He also sat out of the bowl game but was still widely expected to be drafted somewhere between the latter part of Round 1 to Round 3.

The 5-11, 197-pound Joseph earned a 6.26 draft grade from NFL.com, which is in the ‘Good backup who could become starter’ tier of prospects. He it been a 6.3, he’d be in the ‘Will be starter within first two seasons’ tier, which is exactly how I feel about him. It was pretty clear his decision to opt out when he did dropped his stock a little.

Joseph was a highly-touted recruit at Scotlandville Magnet High School (LA) in the 2018 class. He was ranked 42nd overall and had offers from every school, including the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide, two schools who’ve combined to win five of the last six national titles.

Here is a brief scouting report via NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, who compared Joseph to NFL cornerback Maurice Canady.

Strengths

  • Prototypical build as an outside corner with size and length.
  • Full of confidence and a little bit of edge.
  • Fires stiff punch to hinder release from press.
  • Diligent to crowd catch space when running vertical with targets.
  • Held up against Alabama with an INT and two incompletions on three targets.
  • Displayed ball skills with soft, natural hands.
  • Consistent in finding his high-point timing.
  • Sudden burst to fly into passing lanes and play the throw.
  • Readily accepts challenges of run support.
  • Latch-on tackler with aggressive finish.

Weaknesses

  • Highly inexperienced with more reps needed for development.
  • Suspended for LSU bowl game at end of 2018 season.
  • Completely unnecessary personal fouls against Auburn and Florida.
  • Feet are a little jittery and uncertain from press.
  • Tall backpedal with a hitch when opening to sprint.
  • Gives in way too quickly to route fakes.
  • Doesn’t find the football near the goal line.
  • Fails to read receiver and phase the route.
  • Gives away too much separation to quality route runners.

Best of luck to Joseph as he heads to Dallas to play for the five-time Super Bowl champs.

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