Weight: 181 pounds
School: Dubuque Spartans
Combine Performance Data
Bench press: 17 reps
Vertical jump: 34 inches
Three-cone drill: 6.89 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.20 seconds
60-yard shuttle: 11.98 seconds
Michael Joseph 2018 NFL Draft Profile
Making it in the NFL after playing collegiately at Division III level is certainly a challenging proposition. But it’s not impossible. Players such as Fred Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Ali Marpet and Jerrell Freeman are just a few recent examples of D3 prospects who’ve carved out successful NFL careers. Dubuque’s Michael Joseph is looking to follow a similar path to the league.
Joseph received little if any recruiting interest from DI programs after playing at Oswego High School in the Chicago area. It’s what primarily led him to a small college in Iowa with an enrollment of around 2,000 students. After not seeing the field as a true freshman, Joseph became a mainstay in Dubuque’s secondary for the next three seasons. He won first-team all-Iowa Conference honors each year and was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior.
For his career, Joseph totaled 156 tackles, 20 pass breakups, and 15 interceptions. His eight picks during that standout senior campaign tied a Dubuque single-season record set by Jim Martin who did it twice in 1963 and 1964. And Joseph’s career interception total is second in team history behind only Martin.
- well-proportioned frame with ideal height and arm length for the position;
- plus ball skills with the ability to adjust on the run;
- exhibited playmaker tendencies with regularity;
- quick, effortless footwork in backpedal;
- possesses necessary hip fluidity to stay with receivers at transition points;
- not afraid to climb into the backfield and lay hits in space.
- could face significant adjustment period from a level of competition standpoint;
- might need to add some bulk to improve overall play strength;
- instincts and ability to read and react to offensive set tendencies need work;
- has to be more aggressive at jolting receivers off initial move in press coverage;
- receivers can separate early, giving him a disadvantage against vertical threats;
- susceptible to panic grabs if he feels he’s getting beat;
- has a tendency to resort to arm tackles too often.
NFL Comparison: Pierre Desir
Projection: Sixth to seventh round
It’s easy to bring up the caliber of receivers Joseph faced at DIII level and subsequently have concerns over whether he can transition to the NFL. But in many respects, a prospect’s traits and his ability to produce as a result of them supersede all else. That may be the case with Joseph, who possesses the length and playmaking ability teams at the next level are looking for. He’s also a twitchy athlete with solid footwork and nice, fluid hips.
The biggest question mark surrounding Joesph concerns his man coverage skills. Because right now, they’re not where they need to be if he wants to make an impact against big-time vertical receivers. It’s hard to see him getting starter-level reps right out of the gate. But in the right system with good coaches around him, Joseph has what it takes to be the latest “DIII to the pros” success story.