While it remains unclear what direction Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh will go in the first round, one thing is for sure: the 49ers need cornerbacks. Anything can happen in free agency and the 49ers have been linked to several corners on the market. Still, drafting a corner or two in this year's draft seems to be a real possibility. One prospect with a chance to fill the void left by Carlos Rogers is the versatile Lamarcus Joyner from Florida State.
Postion: Defensive Back
Arm Length: 31 ½"
Hands: 9 ½"
40 time: 4.55
Bench Press: 14
Vertical Jump: 37 ½"
Broad Jump: 124"
3 Cone Drill: 7.26
20 yard shuttle: 4.4
- Versatility. Joyner lined up all over the field for the Seminoles over his four-year career. He's returned kicks, played safety, corner (inside and out), and even a little at linebacker. In fact, Joyner led the Noles with 5.5 sacks last season blitzing from the edge. Be sure to check out his tape as both a corner as well as safety. He's quite impressive to the ball and delivers some big blows as a safety. But Joyner feels he shouldn't be pigeon holed into one position. Recently in an interview regarding his future position in the NFL Joyner said:
"If I had a preference I'd tell guys I'm a defensive back because I can play cornerback and I can play safety. I just want to be around the ball, so put me on the depth chart as a DB, not cornerback or safety. I'm not going to limit myself. And that's my heart, that's my mentality."
- Good instincts and high football acumen have all but nullified the concern about his height. What Joyner lacks in size he makes up for instinctual play that consistently put him around the ball and position to make a big play. He's also a very sound tackler in space.
- Joyner has the quickness in space to ride slot receivers inside and out. His 4.55 isn't great but he had a 1.7-second split which shows he was able to get up to full speed rather quickly. Plus, the film speaks for itself. He's plenty quick with pads on to make an impact.
- Lacks ideal size. At only 5-8, Joyner will often me the smallest guy on the field. Not something you prefer when you're talking about a defensive back.
- Questionable straight-line speed. I hesitate to list this as a "con" but because his 4.55-forty time is just average I suppose I have to. But having watched every game of Joyner's career I do not think speed will be an issue. When he's on the football field you'd never guess he ‘only' ran a 4.55.
- When playing at or around the line of scrimmage Joyner at times would get swallowed by blockers getting to the second level. He's not one to give up on a play but often times there isn't much he can do once he's engaged.
Doing your homework:
One of Joyner's better games came this year against Clemson. Check it out below. Take note of the amount of ground he covers on his early third quarter interception at about the 5:30 mark.
I also really encourage you to check out some of the 2011 and 2012 tape when he was playing safety especially the game against Notre Dame in 2011. Available here at DraftBreakdown.com
Why he fits the 49ers:
Joyner would provide defensive coordinator Vic Fangio with a shiny new toy on defense and could be used in a variety of different ways in various situations. He would add an element of versatility to a very good but rather vanilla defense. My thought in favor of drafting Joyner has been this: Each year the 49ers will see Percy Harvin at least twice (when healthy). While I'm not saying Joyner can stop Harvin, I think his skill set and combination of quickness and physical strength should allow him to keep up with and maybe slow down Harvin.
As a safety, Joyner seems to be at his best. When he's in position to keep the play in front of him he explodes to the ball with quickness and power; a trait the 49ers are used to seeing from their safeties.
Why he might not fit the 49ers:
While the team that drafts Joyner doesn't necessarily need to be creative in the way they use him, why not take advantage of that luxury. I said early the 49ers were rather vanilla on defense. That's not a slight in anyway but you don't typically see exotic looks and rarely see unique blitz packages. Would Joyner's biggest strength be wasted in San Francisco? But...I suppose that isn't a REAL reason why he wouldn't "fit" with the 49ers so I'll try again...
The 49ers already have a rather small-ish group of corners. To be fair, they aren't exactly a ton of big-bodied wide outs in the NFC West so it's been something the 49ers have been able to get away with the last few years. Joyner is probably an early day two pick so the price on another small corner would be somewhat steep.
What they're saying:
- NFL.com's Nolan Nowrocki called Joyner a "Classic tweener who could compete in situational packages but is vulnerable to be mismatched against." He also compared him to current free agent Captain Munnerlyn.
- In a recent FoxSports.com article about Joyner's rising draft stock, NFL Network's Mike Mayock compared Joyner to Tyrann Mathieu of the Arizona Cardinals.
- In SB Nation's recent mock draft, Dan Kadar and team have Joyner going in the second round at pick 44 to the Rams.
- Check out Joyner's stats at cfbstats.com
Joyner was teetering on the first round bubble prior the combine last month. He's now likely a second round pick but not necessarily because of his performance. So many other corners blew the doors of the combine include TCU's Jason Verrett and Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller. Both are now considered solid first round picks.
If the 49ers were to be in position to take Joyner, it would likely require a trade up in the second round. With solid depth at corner in this year's class a move like that to get starting talent may not be necessary.
Joyner's talent is obvious when you watch the tape. His work ethic and leadership on and off the field propelled the Seminoles to a National Championship in 2013. Whatever his role in the NFL winds up being Lamarcus Joyner will attack it with the same mentality he has his entire career: looking to prove good things can come in small packages.