2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Kelvin Josephby Mason Thompson March 26, 2021 1 comment
Each year, there are plenty of players that gain some steam pre-draft and shoot up draft boards. Whether that be as a result of a good pro day or other factors, it always happens. In Kelvin Joseph‘s case, he has skyrocketed up draft boards because of his potential. Mel Kiper is very high on Joseph and had him inside his top five cornerbacks at one point as well.
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Name: Kelvin Joseph
Class: Redshirt Sophomore
Weight: 191 lbs
Man Coverage (7/10)
Joseph is about average in man coverage. He is much better in zone than man coverage, but he can travel with the opposing team’s best receiver if needed. He traveled with Kyle Pitts and had some one-on-one reps against DeVonta Smith in the Alabama game. Pitts made Joseph look like a day-three selection while Smith and Joseph had some good battles. Putting Joseph at the line of scrimmage isn’t a great idea right away, as he doesn’t have much experience there and is much more comfortable playing off the ball.
Zone Coverage (8.25/10)
Joseph is primarily going to be playing in a heavy cover 3 or 4 scheme in the NFL. He can be trusted to guard a third or a fourth of the field and relies on looking at the quarterback’s eyes and baiting them into tricky situations. Joseph has good patience and will close in and make a break on the ball in an instant.
Change of Direction (7.25/10)
With Joseph being so tall, his hips are also high on his body, which forces his transitions in each direction to be a little clunky. He loses ground against slot receivers as they are more shifty, and Joseph isn’t.
Ball Skills (9/10)
Joseph is, dare I say elite, in this category. With his length and extension skills, he can work his way up to the catch-point and come down with the ball. Joseph has good concentration and even came down with an interception where he had to toe-tap along the sidelines to complete the catch. After completing the catch, Joseph does a fantastic job of turning into the ball-carrier and immediately looks for a lane to run through.
Again, he’s a bit clunky. Joseph doesn’t have the greatest athleticism and is easily fooled on double-moves and especially slot receivers who are far more shifty than he is.
Run Support (6.5/10)
Here is where things get disappointing. For a cornerback, Joseph is very distant in terms of his run support. He is always a bit lenient on wanting to be the enforcer and lay the boom on someone. Receivers lay him out when they’re blocking. When he is needed to put forth an effort, he does, but it’s disappointing to not see him a bit more active in this regard.
Joseph is very inconsistent in his tackling, almost as inconsistent as Kevin King. One play, he’ll bring the ball-carrier down without much of an issue, and the next play, he’ll try to grab an ankle or shoulder tackle the player. Joseph doesn’t keep his head up when he is trying to tackle, and it results in him looking like a fool as the receiver jukes him out.
Route Recognition (6.5/10)
He’s raw in this regard, but he is learning on the fly. Going against Pitts and Smith has helped him a lot, and against Pitts, you could see that Joseph was learning as the game was going on. Much better at seeing the field in front of him in zone coverage and will get manipulated regularly in man coverage.
His clunkiness is a bit concerning. With more practice, it should get better, but it is something to note. Joseph has good long-speed and stuck step-for-step with Smith in the Alabama game.
Joseph is a heavy talker. He is scrappy and uses a lot of hand-fighting when it is let go, specifically against Smith in the Alabama game. Joseph was called for plenty of pass interference penalties. With more experience, he should limit those.
Joseph had some hamstring issues during his time at Kentucky, specifically in 2018.
Joseph is a toolsy cornerback. He has a good combination of height, weight, and speed and is extremely raw, and has a lot of room to develop, which is why a lot of draft analysts have him so high on their draft boards. His strengths come in his ball skills and zone coverage. His weaknesses fall in run support, tackling, and route recognition. Right now, the grade signals somewhat of a disappointment, but in the right scheme and with a solid veteran in front of him where Joseph will have time to develop, Joseph could turn out to be much better than this projection.
Final Grade (74.75/100): Late Fourth Round