Big people beat up little people. We’ve all heard Chip Kelly’s take on the type of players he likes. He prefers players with larger frames. We saw Seattle’s defense carry their team to a Super Bowl this year, anchored by their big-bodied secondary. In general, I must agree that big people beat up little people. However, there are exceptions to every rule.
Enter Florida State safety Lamarcus Joyner. At 5-8 and 184 pounds, he’s by no means big. However, Joyner plays no where near his size. In fact, he is what we’d consider one of the little people, but he still beats up big people. He plays fearlessly and always seems to tackle with extreme force. Joyner also seems to have a knack for forcing turnovers, something that really can create a big impact on the momentum of a game.
At this year’s NFL Combine, Joyner recorded a 4.55 second 40-yard dash. It’s not over the top speed but he is quick and was used a lot as a blitzer at Florida State. Although he played corner for the Seminoles, he is projected to be a safety at the next level. This means that he has a lot of experience in covering wide receivers. His coverage skills are pretty solid, but he’s not considered a shut down type player.
This experience will be valuable at the next level where safeties are often asked to perform against talented receivers in coverage. He’s also not scared to tackle and can be used up at the line of scrimmage to support the run or to rush the quarterback.
Check out this video of Joyner against Clemson, via DraftBreakdown.com.
Joyner’s projection will depend a bit on when the top safeties like HaHa Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor come off the board. Once they’re off the board, there is another group of safeties that fall into the second tier. Joyner is one of these players.
He isn’t a first round target and will likely go at some point in the second round. It will be interesting to see if any team has strong interest in Joyner to take him early in the second round. I think a lot of teams will take issue with his size. However, the other intangibles he carries may be something teams are willing to take into account when putting their grade on Joyner. He’s known as a leader and he can make a big impact with the way he plays the game.
I’m not sure if he’ll remain on the board when the Eagles are up in the second round. I’m also not sure how high the Eagles will rank him given his physical attributes. Personally, I think he would be an upgrade on the back end of the defense and I’m willing to overlook his size to a certain extent. I also think he can be a player that can make an impact on special teams.
If Joyner is on the board for the Eagles in the second round and they haven’t taken a safety in the first round, I hope they give Joyner some serious consideration.