There is no doubt that the New York Jets need some help in the secondary this offseason, especially if they end up releasing Antonio Cromartie. While they are still currently favored to take a wide receiver or tight end in the first round, don’t rule out the possibility of them taking a defensive back. How free agency plays out will certainly have a major impact on the direction the Jets go, but if they are looking for a DB then Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner is one of the most interesting prospects available.
Joyner spent the first few years of his career with the Seminoles at safety before switching to corner as a senior. The general consensus is that his best role will be as a slot/nickel corner at the NFL level. That has become an increasingly important position in the NFL, and it is somewhere the Jets could use some help. I have defended Kyle Wilson plenty of times before and I still believe he is underrated, but there is no doubt Joyner would be an upgrade. Wilson also only has one year left on his contract and has been mentioned as trade bait, so that could make the need for Joyner more pressing.
Joyner is undersized at 5’8″, 190 lbs, but that does not show in the way he plays. Joyner is a physical player who isn’t afraid to get in a receiver’s face with a jam, as well as being a willing and solid tackler. Those traits will certainly endear him to Rex Ryan as the Jets go through their evaluation process. Joyner was a very productive player at Florida State, recording 8 interceptions and 6.5 sacks in his career.
While Joyner lacks the ideal size to play safety, he is a very good fit as a slot corner. He has excellent quickness and is explosive in and out breaks, which are essential qualities for nickel corners. Joyner lacks elite straight line speed, and he is not expected to dazzle with his 40 time at the combine. However, his quickness, physicality, and sure tackling make him a perfect fit for covering today’s slot receivers.
Joyner’s stock is currently in the late first, early second range, and a slow 40 time could actually benefit the Jets. Joyner would be good value in the second if he were to make it that far. I don’t see the Jets taking him at No. 18, but he could be an option if they were to trade down. I expect the Jets to make some free agents moves at receiver, and they are rumored to be high on Eric Ebron in the first round. If all that comes to pass, corner will be the Jets’ next biggest need and Joyner would make a lot of sense in the second round.
Previous Scouting Reports: Sammy Watkins, Marqise Lee, Mike Evans, Eric Ebron, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Calvin Pryor, Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard, Davante Adams, Odell Beckham, Jr., Brandin Cooks, Jordan Matthews, Jace Amaro