Karl Joseph and Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones will forever be linked to each other.
The fearsome defensive backs each had illustrious football careers with West Virginia. Separated by 11 years, they were also selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.
In 2005, Jones went sixth overall to the Tennessee Titans. On Thursday, Joseph was picked 14th overall by the Oakland Raiders.
Getting to this point, this pair couldn’t have taken different paths. Jones always seemed to be in trouble at WVU. His character and personality clashed with the main motto of being a Mountaineer. Joseph, on the other hand, comes across as a humble player who doesn’t take anything for granted.
All that is evident by his reaction to his season-ending injury that sidelined him for most of his senior season at West Virginia.
What’s intriguing about Joseph is the fact that his draft stock seemed to rise throughout the recent months, despite not playing in a game since October. He couldn’t even demonstrate his ability at workouts leading up to the NFL Draft.
His three years of excellent play on the field allowed him to get picked where he did.
Jones, too, had his three years of play with the Mountaineers lead him to the professional ranks. Jones left prior to his senior year. His draft stock was obviously the highest at that point.
In three years with WVU, Jones was an established defender and kick returner. He totaled nearly 1,500 yards on kick returns and averaged 10 yards per punt return while playing in Morgantown. On defense, in 36 games played, Jones had 205 total tackles with 22 tackles for a loss and eight interceptions.
Numbers very similar to Joseph.
In 42 games, Joseph recorded 208 total tackles with 16.5 tackles for a loss and nine interceptions. Five interceptions came in the four games he started early in his senior season before going down with a season-ending knee injury in a practice prior to the Oklahoma State game, which the Mountaineers lost in overtime at Milan Puskar Stadium.
Without Joseph, the Mountaineers suffered a four-game slide throughout the month of October.
Record-wise, Joseph helped the Mountaineers to a record of 21-21, which was a very streaky time for the program. Jones helped his squad to a 25-13 record from 2002-04.
Size-wise, the players couldn’t be more similar. They both stand at 5-foot-11, though Joseph clocks in 12 pounds heavier at 197. Jones weighed 185 pounds in his WVU playing days.
Their physique on the field complemented each other well as they would fly to the ball and disrupt plays. Joseph was known as an intimidator, a term that can also be used to describe Jones.
Jones, however, might have created his persona in a negative way. Fighting off several disciplinary actions while in college, Jones has been suspended several times since he turned pro. He was even out of the NFL for a year, serving a brief stint in the Canadian Football League.
Since 2010, Jones has been a member of the Cincinnati Bengals. In his career, Jones has 409 career tackles with 14 interceptions and six forced fumbles.
His last game might have cost the Bengals a chance at the Super Bowl, as he drew a 15-yard personal foul penalty which allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers to kick a last-second field goal in the first round of the playoffs last season.
Jones is 32 years old and still seems to have trouble obeying the rules. Joseph is 10 years younger and already seems much more mature than his fellow first-rounder from WVU.