Kentucky cornerback Kelvin Joseph was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. First, let’s take a look at what Joseph brought to UK during his one season as the team’s starting cornerback and then venture into how the Cats replace the productive defender.
Kelvin Joseph is a 6’1, 195-pound cornerback that played one season for Kentucky. Joseph contributed as a true freshman at LSU prior to transferring to UK. He sat out the 2019 season due to NCAA transfer rules but went on to become a starting cornerback for the Cats in 2020. The junior played in nine games with nine starts. Joseph’s one-year run in Lexington resulted in multiple explosive plays which were reflected in a high number of interceptions including a Pick-6 against Tennessee in the Cat’s win in Knoxville. He covered multiple NFL Draft selections in 2020. There were inconsistencies throughout the season. However, there was never a doubt that Joseph was a highly talented and confident defensive back with a future in the National Football League.
Opting out of the final two contests, Joseph finished the season with 25 tackles, 4 interceptions, 1 pass breakup, and 1 tackle for loss. His four interceptions tied for the second most in the SEC and was just two behind the nation’s leader.
“Bossman Fat” validated on-field production with a tremendous showing at Kentucky’s Pro Day. He clocked a 4.34-40 and recorded a 35-inch vertical to go along with a 10-foot, 8-inch broad jump. Replacing an NFL Draft selection is never an easy task. However, word out of the Joe Craft Football Training Facility is that Carrington Valentine is ready.
Carrington Valentine saw action in 10 games with 1 start a year ago. His play in the Gator Bowl served as a notice of his emergence as a potential full-time starter after recording 6 tackles and forcing a fumble against North Carolina State.
Valentine is a 6’0, 200-pound sophomore from Cincinnati, Ohio. He played at Moeller High School which is a traditional Ohio powerhouse program. Valentine has made a strong early impression in Lexington and projects to be another upper-echelon Wildcat cornerback.
What Does All This Mean?
Losing a starting cornerback to the NFL that produced 4 interceptions will be noticeable. However, Carrington Valentine is ready to step into a starter role. Having an all-veteran group of safeties will provide Valentine with an additional comfort level in pass coverage. The sophomore may not generate four interceptions in 2021, but don’t expect a drop-off at this position.