In the wild and wacky first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, many future NFL players were eagerly anticipating their chance for future stardom. From walking the red carpet to sitting with their agents and families in the catered green room, there was one draft pick, the 14th overall selection, that sought a different experience of Draft Day. 1,820 miles away in his native land of Haiti, surrounded by his family, West Virginia Safety Karl Joseph was declared the newest member of the Oakland Raiders.
“Everybody dreams about walking across the stage. But me, I wanted to do something that meant a lot more—being with my family,” says Joseph. “Being that I was born in Haiti and not too many people have actually done that. It’s never really been done before so I wanted to come out here with my family and shed some light on the country, some positives about where I’m from and give the people something to be happy about, give my family something to be proud and happy about. So I wanted to come out here and just hang out and relax with my family.”
Many experts saw him as a second-round pick, but this young man, known for his ferocious play on the field, leadership in the huddle, and a hitting style that the Raiders may not have seen since Jack Tatum wore the silver and black, knew that God had different plans for him.
“You can feel his passion watching the tape,” Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie says. “You can feel his intensity in the way he plays. You can feel his toughness . . . he’ll run and hit anything that moves.”
The Raiders were not afraid of the fact that he’d only played in three games last year, nor that he was coming off of an ACL surgery, because they saw a future cornerstone of the secondary and a great young man.
“As a competitor, it hurt not being able to compete, especially at the combine seeing guys doing certain stuff. When it first happened [the ACL tear], I was definitely worried about it. My family and my mom are very religious and I am as well. I believe everything happens for a reason and God has a plan and he’s showing it right now that even though with the injury, a lot of people still thought very highly of me, and I’m just so happy that the Raiders staff is giving me an opportunity.” – From Raiders.com