New Lions S Kerby Joseph felt a family connection to the staff during the pre-draft process

New Detroit Lions safety Kerby Joseph said his pre-draft meetings with the team felt like talking with his family, crediting the connection he felt from the get-go.

Joseph was in the Senior Bowl while the Detroit staff coached one of the rosters in Mobile. He then had a formal talk with them at the combine, and that’s when he started to feel like something was afoot.

“I felt like I had a sense of family when I was in that room,” Joseph said via Zoom. “Everyone in there connected with me, and I loved it. And then I got to meet them again on a Top 30 tour that I was grateful to have with them. I was able to reconnect with them and meet the GM (General Manager Brad Holmes) and Head Coach (Dan Campbell) again.

The Lions added two defensive players on Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft. They opened the day with Kentucky defensive end Josh Paschal at pick 46, then grabbed Joseph in Round 3 at pick 97. Brad Holmes and the team are very excited about Joseph and his new teammate, highlighting the support of the entire staff for these two players. .

“And then the other thing with these two kids today, I would say Josh and Kerby (Joseph), I’ve talked a lot about belief and buy-in and having total belief, total building, total buy-in at the build, as every person in the building is like, ‘I’m totally sold on this guy’, that’s what these two players were today,” Holmes said. “Just love for the two of them, all the coaches and everyone, Kerby was another guy with a lot of upside, still developing, only been in the job for about a year, but was a top special team player. Good rising and elite ball skills and can return football. We are very excited for them both. These are targets that have emerged as favorites throughout the process. We are just very excited. It’s a beautiful day today.

Related: 2022 NFL Draft Day 2 Recap: Lions Add Defense With Paschal, Joseph; Kenneth Walker is MSU’s top pick

Related: New Lions defenseman Josh Paschal survived cancer while playing at Kentucky

Joseph was celebrating a messy night with a group of about 60 people at an Airbnb outside Orlando. He had to sneak into the garage to meet reporters in Detroit via Zoom.

Holmes said it’s safe to say he feels more confident about safety than he did a few weeks ago. This includes the selection of Joseph and the addition of DeShon Elliott after the re-signing of starter Tracy Walker. Elliott has missed 36 games in four seasons, so it’s hard to count on him. And this is where Joseph comes into the equation. Holmes said he expects the competition to be fierce from a depth perspective. Joseph adds a potential ball-peddling element to the back of the Detroit defense. After splitting time at receiver, he enjoyed an impressive escape with the ability to focus on safety. The 6-foot-1, 203-pound player had five interceptions and 57 last season. Joseph has an ultra-desirable 6-foot-8 wingspan, not to mention a vertical leap of 38.5 inches.

“My senior season, I feel like I’ve gone the extra mile a lot more,” Joseph said of his 2021 breakthrough. “I feel like I’ve started to define at least one position. I felt like we weren’t on — or, two positions were like receiver or safety, while I was focusing on safety. I feel like that really upped my game.

“Ball skills have always been with me. The ball skills, I was just born with them. They’re just a natural talent that I have. I feel like receivers can also help find what the offenses are looking for, like what the goals are as an offense, like concepts and stuff like that.

He also doesn’t sound against or afraid to play against special teams. It’s always important for a rookie. Holmes called him a “top special teams player” with elite ball skills.

“I can do anything. In my four years playing at Illinois, I’ve been on every special teams corps known to man,” Joseph said. , that’s why I know it, that’s why I like to play it. This season I scored the first points of the college football season against Nebraska. Got a safety against Nebraska, so it was on. I scored the first points. So that was fun. In freshman year, my first tackle was on special teams, so I was grateful for that as well because I had never had a college tackle before. After I got that one, I just walked.

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