(Editor's Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held May 8-10, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today's featured player is Florida State's Lamarcus Joyner).
College: Florida State
Honors:Joyner was a Jim Thorpe Award finalist in 2013 for the top defensive back in the nation, posting six starts at cornerback and eight as a nickel corner after moving over from starting safety the year prior. He was the first Florida State defensive back to be named a consensus first-team All-American since 2000.
Key stat:The versatile defensive back started 27 straight games at safety in 2011 and 2012 before moving to a corner position and recording 5.5 sacks, 69 tackles and two interceptions in 2013. No defensive back in the nation had more sacks than Joyner last season. He had eight solo tackles, a sack, an interception and two forced fumbles against Clemson.
Where He's Projected:It'll be interesting to see where Joyner goes. Versatility can also be a downfall at the NFL Draft, because he's a tweener defender who played both safety and cornerback in college and it may be difficult to project his best system or spot at the next level. Joyner could go as high as about the second round and as low as the fourth, but his production throughout college and particularly his senior year demonstrates his upside.
How He Helps the Cowboys:The Cowboys already had three starters set at cornerback before drafting B.W. Webb last year, but the production on the back end defensively didn't meet expectations. Joyner has the ability to play both cornerback and safety and could fill in as a nickel corner. He led the Seminoles in sacks as a senior, displaying his feel and ability to get to the quarterback. The Cowboys lacked a consistent pass rush last year, and a dynamic player who can get home on the blitz off the edge would help out the front four. Given the injuries at safety in recent years, it wouldn't hurt to have a do-it-all defensive back. [embedded_ad]
Scout's Take – Bryan Broaddus:Joyner's played both as a cornerback and safety in his career at Florida State. He looks short on tape but will play with a physical side. He'll wrap up as a tackler and has the quickness to adjust to the wide receiver. He really cover some ground when he runs and shows range when he plays. Joyner went all the way from center field against Boston College to the pylon to try and knock a receiver out of bounds. He can also cover in the slot and close on the ball. Not much wasted motion when he plays. He'll fight off the block to get in on the tackle.
Joyner caused a sack/fumble off a slot blitz that resulted in a touchdown against Clemson and showed great quickness on the play. On the other side, he also took a pass interference call against Clemson, trying to carry the receiver up the field and having a hold of him. Normally, he doesn't have to grab the receiver. Can keep himself in position. He has a quick reaction to the screen and had an interception against Clemson out of zone coverage. He dropped late and Taji Boyd never saw him.
He avoids the blocker on the edge and runs the ball carrier out of bounds. Joyner's strong enough to jam the receiver on the line when in press coverage. He'll attack the ball and knows how to work thru traffic. Plays with awareness. He knows how to track the ball and the receiver. The only problem with this player is that he's short. He has all the skills you want in a corner. Interesting how he's able to play in the slot as well. Really good player that lacks height. Very competitive in the way he plays. He has the skills to play in any scheme.