Rod Woodson: Karl Joseph a 'perfect fit' with Raiders

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Rod Woodson played 17 years as a defensive back in the NFL. He has been an assistant coach in the league for two seasons and worked as a television analyst for 11 years. He entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

So yeah, Woodson, who played in the Pro Bowl as both a cornerback and free safety, knows a thing or two about the secondary, and the Oakland Raiders assistant defensive backs coach has a take on the team’s first-round draft pick.

Karl Joseph, an undersized strong safety who was selected No. 14 overall out of West Virginia, reminds Woodson of Earl Thomas and Bob Sanders.

“Not so big in stature but physical and fast,” Woodson said of the 5-foot-10, 205-pound Joseph. “He has an innate instinct.

“He’s a perfect fit for what we want to accomplish here.”

Joseph is coming off a knee injury that limited him to four games for the Mountaineers last season, though he did have five interceptions. Three picks came in one game.

As such, Joseph represents that rare combination of a vicious hitter with soft hands.

“He’s just a natural athlete who has a natural feel for the game,” Woodson said. “At the end of the day, he won’t be a robot out there on the field, or a cowboy.”

Woodson, who is entering the second year of his second stint on the Raiders staff, also is heading up an initiative with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy camp and training program for middle school and high school players.

It is an invite-only event in Canton, Ohio, that will feature four days of training, classroom work and character development.

Woodson envisions the program as an opportunity for players from smaller schools to get noticed by bigger college programs.

“It’s an opportunity for us to promote these young athletes so they can promote themselves,” said Woodson, who has participated in the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship Program.

“We want to bring back the integrity of the game, fundamentals and details. To get back to the roots with camps and this endeavor.”

Players can apply for the camp at www.ProFootballHOFAcademy.com