When a team drafts Florida State cornerback Lamarcus Joyner, it won’t only be adding another piece of the puzzle to their secondary but a defensive playmaker.
Joyner recorded 64 tackles, 6.5 for loss, five sacks, three forced fumbles, and a pair of interceptions last season, proving to be a jack of all trades for the Noles. Not only is he stout in pass defense and able to create turnovers, he was steady against the run.
At 5-foot-8 and 187 pounds, Joyner is a bit undersized — even as a defensive back. But what he lacks in size he makes up for in speed and quickness. His playmaking ability is similar to that of former LSU standout and current Arizona Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu: instinctive and game-changing.
Some scouts believe Joyner’s best fit is as a nickel back who covers the slot receiver due to his fluidity and ability to mirror receivers. He can also blitz from that position.
Aside from size concerns, scouts believe that Joyner can be overaggressive at times. Because of his focus on blitzing and forcing the issue, he’s susceptible to biting on pump fakes allowing wide receivers to gain a step on him. Also, there is some debate as to where he fits in an NFL defense, with corner, nickelback and safety all viable options.
Joyner is ranked as the No. 24 prospect by ESPN’s Todd McShay, and the third-rated cornerback. He comes in at No. 47 by Rotoworld and No. 48 by CBS Sports, and the fifth- and fourth-rated cornerback by each outlet, respectively.
There are a host of corner-hungry teams toward the end of the first round, which means they’ll be keeping a close eye on who is available the consensus top three prospects in Darqueze Dennard, Justin Gilbert and Jason Verrett.
The Cincinnati Bengals could be a landing spot for the Joyner. The team has a pair of aging corners in Terrance Newman and Adam Jones, while Leon Hall is recovering from a season-ending injury. Adding a young, versatile defensive back is a must at some point in Cincy’s draft.
The San Diego Chargers must go after a corner in the draft, as without a doubt it’s the team’s most glaring need on the defensive side of the ball. The Bolts, however, need a No. 1-type corner, and since there is some uncertainty about where Joyner fits the team may elect to pass.
Joyner could be a fit for the San Francisco 49ers, which will likely not retain Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, or Perrish Cox for the 2014 season. Like San Diego, the Niners need a corner that can cover a No. 1 wideout, though Jim Harbaugh is usually pretty good at getting the most out of his players.