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Draft Darlings: Brandon Joseph could provide a fit at safety

The Notre Dame talent would bring a familiar skill set if drafted by Kansas City.

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs have valued the safety position considerably during Brett Veach’s time as general manager. The team currently has a solid group at the position but could be looking to add depth during the draft.

This could put a player like Brandon Joseph on their radar.

Standing 6’0” and weighing 202 pounds, Joseph has a good build for an NFL safety and used his versatile size to play all over the field during his college career.

With 10 career interceptions, Joseph started his career with the reputation of being a ballhawk at the University of Northwestern.

Joseph transferred to Notre Dame for his senior season, where he saw a dip in his overall production but saw an increase in the ways he could be used as a player.

A team like the Chiefs would likely covet Joseph for his coverage, tackling, and blitzing ability.


At both Northwestern and Notre Dame, Joseph played primarily in either cover two or cover three looks as the free safety. On passing plays, he was typically positioned around the middle of the field, where he looked to take away the intermediate passing game.

Playing zone coverage, Joseph surveys the middle of the field, knowing that his linebackers will be playing anything in front of them, and he is responsible for the area from their depth in the middle boundary to the field side.

The tight end breaks his route toward the field side, and Josehph reads the play quickly. Michigan used motion and two players in the flat to take the attention of one safety and one linebacker while they wanted to get their tight end open in space.

Joseph plays his assignment well, making a great read on the play and soaring in to break up the pass for an incompletion.

His vision and understanding of the scheme helped him process the play unfolding, while his physical abilities enabled him to finish the play.


Joseph is an adequate tackler in space, as well as around the line of scrimmage. His highest single-season tackle tally came while at Northwestern in 2021 with 79 total. He played more of a “box safety”— a safety who plays at linebacker depth or inside the tackle box— while at Northwestern, but his production dipped somewhat at Notre Dame— 30 tackles in 2022— where he played as more a free safety.

While the production went down, he did not lose his ability to wrap up ball carriers.

The offense looks to run a swing pass to the running back with all three of the trips wide receivers blocking, creating a screen-like pass.

The receivers all engage their men as the running back makes the grab, leaving only Joseph between himself and a big play.

Joseph quickly closes in on the play, flying into the flat and squaring up the running back. Joseph angles his body between the back and the sideline, forcing the back to the inside, where help from the other defenders is on the way.

Despite other players rallying to the ball, Joseph launches himself toward the back's ankles and wraps him up for a minimal gain.

That is a great tackle and a great display of football IQ by Joseph. The back wanted to get to the sideline and work in space that his blockers had created for him, but by following a good angle Joespeh not only took away the big play, but he also was able to make an impressive open-field tackle.


Although he only has one career sack, Joseph projects to be a good blitzing safety in the NFL. His sense of timing, closing ability, and physicality make him a fit for a team that emphasizes blitzing defensive backs.

While he blitzed less at Notre Dame, his film from Northwestern shows a player capable of getting home on quarterbacks when his number was called.

Joseph lines up in the shallow secondary just outside of the tackle box. Michigan is anticipating pressure on this play, leaving a tight end in to block and flaring a running back into the flat on a quick route.

They want the quarterback to check down the field quickly but eventually throw the check down to the back. During the pre-snap phase of the play Joseph appears to be eying either the back or tight end, and when the motion begins turns his head to look at the back.

The quarterback takes the snap and goes into his progression while Joseph blitzes from depth. The blockers up front pick up their men, but Joseph ends up being the extra body. Unaccounted for, he comes through untouched, blasting the quarterback for a sack.

The bottom line

While safety may not be the most pressing need for the Chiefs, Joseph could end up being a great value in the middle rounds.

Although the team lost Juan Thornhill, the roster currently boats Justin Reid — who had a career year— Bryan Cook—who flashed in the playoffs—, and Mike Edwards— who is a good fit and ballhawk.

So how would a player like Joseph make sense?

Joseph could round out the room, adding the presence of a fourth safety with the versatility to play any safety spot and also becoming a valuable backup who would instantly play on special teams.

If given the freedom, he could also be able to return to his ball-hawking ways from Northwestern and could become an impact-making player.

His skillset would likely make him a direct backup to Reid, while his intangibles would also allow him to see the field as the box safety in some instances.

The Chiefs will always be in the market for a physical secondary player with versatility, and Joseph would fit this mold.

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