During his time as director of college scouting for the Los Angeles Rams, Brad Holmes seemed to have an eye for talent at the safety position. He had a hand in the late-round selections of guys like John Johnson and Jordan Fuller. Those turned out to be tremendous value picks for the Rams, as both developed into quality starters.
In his current role as general manager of the Detroit Lions, it seems Holmes has found another safety gem in Kerby Joseph.
Entering his rookie season, Joseph was viewed as more of a ball-of-clay type of player. He had the athletic tools but wasn’t looked at as someone who could challenge for a starting spot right away. However, after Tracy Walker went down for the season in Week 3, the rookie was forced into action.
From then on Joseph was a starter, using his athleticism and range to give the secondary a real ballhawk. Now, heading into his sophomore season, expectations are high.
What should realistic expectations be for Lions safety KerbyJoseph in 2023?
Joseph is slated to be one of the Lions' starting safeties entering his second season. Tracy Walker should be in line for the other starting safety role, with continued progress from his torn Achilles, while C.J. Gardner-Johnson and rookie Brian Branch will both factor in as safety/nickel corner hybrids.
The coaching staff and Joseph’s teammates see big things in him, mostly stemming from his nose for the ball. He made noise in that area during OTAs.
Last season, Joseph made plenty of plays but also had moments where he got burned by being too aggressive. Head coach Dan Campbell talked about how the coaching staff wants Joseph to be smart with when he chooses to be aggressive, and not leave his assignment to try and make a play elsewhere.
With nearly a full season on starting experience under his belt, Joseph should take a refinement step in his season. He has some work to do before he’s vying for Pro Bowl selections, but that kind of acknowledgement could easily come down the road.