Heading into the 2022 NFL Draft, many (including myself) believed the Detroit Lions would select a safety with one of their top three picks. Instead, the Lions ended up using their fourth pick (No. 97 overall) to select S Kerby Joseph out of Illinois.
With veterans Tracy Walker and DeShon Elliott seemingly having the starting safety positions on lockdown, most believed Joseph would be given an ample amount of time to develop before he was put into any pressure situations.
Well, that may not be the case as Joseph is currently “ahead” of where Lions’ coaches thought he would be.
Kerby Joseph is ‘ahead’ of where Detroit Lions thought he’d be
According to Lions’ safeties coach Brian Duker, Kerby Joseph is already ahead of the game in his development.
“I would say Kerby is actually ahead of where I thought he’d be, to be honest with you,” Duker told the media on the final open day of OTAs. “I was really pleasantly surprised with him. With him, the biggest thing is just learning the verbiage. It’s so much bigger of a playbook than he’s really used to. So now understanding all the calls that are really involved and kinda getting your toolbox together is something we talked about a whole bunch.”
Duker added that Joseph is always ready to work and he is always asking questions.
“Kerby is a great guy man,” Walker told the media during minicamp. “He approaches his job each and every day, he’s always ready to work. He always asks questions which is great. He’s very in tune to what’s going on in here.”
Duker made it clear that playing time is “earned” and Joseph will certainly have an opportunity to earn playing time in 2022.
“Really, we go back to play time is earned,” Duker continued. “So if he does a good job and shows he’s really got value, we have a lot of packages, we’ve got a lot of different things we can do. So if he earns that, he really has a good — let’s say it’s third down and he can go get the ball and we want to put a bunch of DBs (defensive backs) on the field and he earns that spot, that would be a great opportunity for him and I’d be really excited to see him get the opportunity to go and do that.”
“We always really knew he was a really rangy safety,” Duker said. “When he’s playing deep and the ball is in the air, he’s the same guy he was in college. He’s awesome at that. He goes and gets the ball. Now, for us, it’s how do you fit the run in our system? How do you play bunches in our system? How do you do all those kinds of things? He’s done a really good job and is ahead of where I thought he’d be.”
Kerby Joseph has not even gone through an NFL training camp yet but it sure sounds like the Detroit Lions are pretty happy to have him.
Let’s hope Joseph develops into a legit NFL safety because that is certainly one of the Lions’ biggest weaknesses at this time.