FRISCO, Texas – Kelvin Joseph showed up at the Cowboys' headquarters on Thursday "ready to work."
When the Cowboys drafted the cornerback out of Kentucky with the No. 44 overall pick, there were more than a couple prognosticators calling the selection a reach.
He played just one season at LSU and transferred after being suspended for the team's bowl game. One season at Kentucky was enough to show that he was a top-level cornerback in the SEC, but the Cowboys need help in the secondary now. Can they trust Joseph to be both an immediate contributor to the defense as well as a long-term solution at cornerback?
Joseph showed up Thursday in preparation for the weekend's mini-camp, and according to him, once you get put on the field with other football players, the time to talk 'who was drafted where' has come and gone.
"Draft status really doesn't matter at this point," Joseph said. "I'm ready to get to work with my team. It's a blessing to be selected in the second round. I'm ready to fill a young role as a leader and come in ready to play and work with the vets."
Even at Kentucky, Joseph didn't finish his sole season there, opting to leave the team in preparation for the NFL Draft. "Commitment" is a tough thing to realistically quantify, but whatever question marks some experts place on Joseph's commitment (be they fair or not) may be why some didn't see him as a high second-round pick.
"People are going to doubt regardless," Joseph said on Thursday. "I'm just trying to get to work with my team and go win a Super Bowl. As far as people talking about commitment issues, I'm all in. I'm with my team."
If the Cowboys needed any extra evaluation on what to expect from Joseph, they can look to one of his former teammates, who Dallas took in the sixth round. Kentucky is known to be a basketball school, but Joseph and defensive linemen Quinton Bohanna have infused some Wildcat pedigree into the Cowboys locker room. According to Bohanna, it's all well and good if you want to underestimate Joseph, as long as you're not the one who has to match up with him on the field.
"With Kelvin, they're getting a dog," Bohanna said. "A fiery player who enjoys competition. He's physical and he can come down and play the run."
If Bohanna is right about Joseph's fiery nature, then the cornerback will have a chance to showcase that at this weekend's mini-camp. The players won't be wearing pads, but receivers and cornerbacks will still likely jockey for passes. If Bohanna's description is apt, Joseph mostly downplayed his competitive side. Preparation, he says, is what this weekend is about.
"This weekend I want to bond with my teammates, get to know them a little bit more so we can create a better brotherhood and get ready to face the next opponent."
Eventually, Joseph knows, we'll see what he's capable of. It's one step at a time.
"[I'll be] getting my technique and my game ready for the first preseason game so I can showcase to the whole world what I've been working on."