Detroit Lions are raising the bar for safety Kerby Joseph


In a remodeled Detroit Lions secondary, internal expectations may be highest for safety Kerby Joseph.

With one full season as a safety in college, safety Kerby Joseph arrived to the Detroit Lions as a third-round pick last year a pretty raw player. Then an Achilles' tear for Tracy Walker in Week 3 last season pushed him into a starting role very early.

There were some growing pains, but Joseph mostly delivered as a rookie. In two games against the Green Bay Packers, he intercepted Aaron Rodgers three times and he openly lamented that it should have been more. He had four total interceptions, with 82 total tackles and two forced fumbles.

The Lions' additions to the secondary this offseason (C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Cameron Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley, Brian Branch) makes it easy to...not forget about, but put Joseph on the back burner a little bit.

Based on the sentiment coming out of OTAs, Joseph is front and center in terms of high hopes for the 2023 season.

The bar is being raised for Lions safety Kerby Joseph

Ben Raven of MLive passed along recent sentiment on Joseph from Lions' cornerbacks coach Dre' Bly and new teammate Gardner-Johnson.

"When I look at him, he’s a phenomenal player, and just the range he covers when he’s in center field, the energy that he brings to the field, he’s always bouncing around and smiling and happy, and that kind of reminded me of myself,” “That was the kind of player that I was when I played, and I know that kind of energy is contagious, and so that’s what I see in Kerby."

Dre Bly

"I mean, he’s a ballhawk. I picked off Tom Brady twice in one season. He picked off Aaron Rodgers ... twice in one game,” Gardner-Johnson said. “That’s hard to do on a quarterback that’s at a level you expect to not make a mistake. For him to take that step, he’s just scratching the surface.

“He’s a second-year player, right? He doesn’t realize how good he is, truthfully. (He’s) one of the best young safeties in the game. He already has, but when he really understands that you ain’t out here by yourself anymore, you’ve got help, you’ve got veterans around you, you can learn the game a little bit more, you’re going to see a whole different Kerby Joseph.”"

C.J. Gardner-Johnson

Last year's experience and the added veteran presence in the Lions' secondary will only benefit Joseph in his second season. No matter how the pieces around him are deployed, he will be a key part of what will naturally be a much-improved Lions' pass defense this year.

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