Raiders first-round pick Karl Joseph: 'I'm dying to play'

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Karl Joseph, the Oakland Raiders' first-round draft pick who has yet to play a single snap on defense through two forgettable games for the team’s defense, said Tuesday he will share first-team snaps at strong safety in practice this week.

This after being a starter through training camp and the preseason before being surpassed on the depth chart by Nate Allen and Keith McGill.

“My mindset never really changes,” Joseph said Tuesday in the Raiders’ locker room. “I’m hungry. I want to be out there. It hurts me not to be out there, so I’m going to keep preparing, preparing like I’m starting, like I’m going to play every single snap.

“Me, as a competitor, I don’t like being on the sidelines. I want to be out there with the team. I want to be out there and make plays and help the team win. It definitely hurts. It’s been hard, but I’ve just been staying patient and…preparing all week like I’m going to get my opportunity. And whenever I do get my opportunity, make the best of it.”

Thus far, while the Raiders defense has surrendered a combined 1,035 yards against the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons, Joseph has played just 16 snaps on special teams.

And, yes, while Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was torching Oakland for 396 passing yards and three touchdown passes, Raiders coach Jack Del Rio was wondering why his first-rounder, who had five interceptions in four games at West Virginia last year, was riding the bench.

“Quite frankly, I came out of the game (Sunday) saying, ‘Why didn’t we get him in?’” Del Rio admitted on Monday.

“Keith struggled…and certainly opened the door for Karl to get in there, but we didn’t pull the trigger on it. I’d like to see him get his opportunities to get in the game, starting this week.”

In playing the Tennessee Titans and quarterback Marcus Mariota this weekend, Joseph will see a familiar offense, as he started against them in the third preseason game.

“He’s a good quarterback, a great athlete,” Joseph said of Mariota. “Everybody’s got to be locked in this week.”

And, no, Joseph is not bitter at sitting the first two games of the season, he said. Starting all preseason allowed him to see game action at game speed, and taking the past two weeks off has allowed him to soak things in while letting his confidence grow and his surgically-repaired right knee continue to heal.

“It was nothing I was mad about,” Joseph said. “I just used it as motivation. Just got to show them that I’m ready.

“I’ve felt like I was ready. As a competitor, you’ve got to feel like that. I don’t like being on the sidelines, so I’m dying to play.”