ALAMEDA – Raiders edge rusher Bruce Irvin remains active with his alma mater. He returns to West Virginia regularly to check in on his Mountaineers and, a year after his graduation, a powerful defensive back stood out from the pack.

I saw him as a freshman. I saw what type of player he wanted to be and I saw that he wanted to fulfill his dream of being an NFL player. When I would go back, I would talk to him. You could just see the hunger in his eyes.”

As someone extremely motivated, Irvin respects that drive. That’s why, when Raiders brass asked their new pass rusher about 5-foot-9, 205 pound Joseph, the reviews were glowing.

“I know what type of player he is. I know the dedication he puts in,” Irvin said. “He’s small, but he plays big. He plays bigger than what he is. He’s a dog. He came from my school, so that’s another reason why. I wouldn’t ask them to bring somebody in who wasn’t going to be able to help us.”

Irvin validated what the Raiders saw on tape and heard in interviews. Joseph was a versatile talent who could cover and hit extremely hard. Joseph had the work ethic the Raiders covet, which gave general manager Reggie McKenzie confidence to draft him No. 14 overall.

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Joseph is recovering from an Oct. knee injury, and is on pace to return by training camp. He appreciated the endorsement and the continued help since the draft. Joseph isn’t able to work with his teammates during OTAs, yet is trying to absorb as much information about scheme and NFL life.


“I’ve spoke to Bruce Irvin quite a bit. He has kind of helped me a little bit through the process and getting adjusted and everything, so it’s good having a player like that to kind of help me. He’s been through it all, has been in the league for a few years.”

Irvin tells Joseph to focus on what he can fix, and to make sure he maximizes each day. When he gets fully healthy, Irvin expects his fellow Mountaineer to make a major impact.

“He’s small, but he plays bigger than what he is,” Irvin said. “I can’t wait to see him get out there.”