Earlier today, I profiled a 2014 NFL Draft Prospect who would make a great fit for the New York Giants in the late-rounds. Here, I will take a look at a middle-round prospect who can pay immediate dividends for the Giants in 2014 and also become a core player and leader on the field for years to come. That prospect is Florida State hybrid cornerback/safety Lamarcus Joyner. I touched briefly on some of the attributes that make Joyner such an underrated prospect in my post-combine full Mock Draft.
However, in this post I will take the opportunity to address in detail why I’m confident that the Giants have an opportunity to draft a first-round talent in Joyner for the price tag of a third or fourth round pick.
Before we address why Joyner can be had at such a late pick, it’s important to address why Joyner is a prospect that needs to be drafted in any round at all. For those of you who don’t follow college football closely, Joyner’s name still might be familiar to you because he played for the National Champions. Joyner was a leader on the Florida State defense on the field and acted as the quarterback of the secondary.
He’s an impact player with great feet and quickness plus the ability to win highly contested 50/50 jump balls. Joyner’s best attribute is his ability to digest the offensive play call and react on what he sees to make the play. His football IQ is something that will carry over to the next level and also something that every coach and general manager is looking for.
Joyner is a “tweener” prospect because he projects as either a safety or cornerback at the next level. What that really means is that he excels playing in the box and he can make the biggest impact defending the slot. Joyner has showcased everything needed to be a shutdown “inside” cornerback who can defend the bigger tight ends who like to play in the slot, like a Jimmy Graham, and also the quick-twitch guys like Wes Welker. This skill-set is a perfect fit for the Giants, because they currently only have one cornerback on their roster — Prince Amukamara, who is best suited as an outside cornerback. Last season, the Giants used Terrell Thomas as their slot cornerback, but he is set to become a free agent and he struggled to keep up with several receivers who out-dueled him during season.
The only reason why Joyner has a chance of being a mid-round pick for the Giants, starting in round three and potentially lasting until their fourth-round pick, is because of his NFL Combine. Joyner measured in at just 5-foot-8 and 184 pounds and ran just a 4.55 forty-yard-dash. This is a classic case, however, of the measurable telling painting an inaccurate picture of the prospect. Joyner’s toughness and strength for his size mean that he “plays bigger”. In addition, his straight-line speed won’t be put to the test as much if he is used as a slot cornerback or strong safety.
As Jerry Reese has stated countless times before, the Giants management uses The Combine like ketchup on a juicy hamburger. Yes, it helps their evaluation, but in the end they are going to hang their hat on what they see on the film. I am confident that if Joyner does drop in the draft, the Giants will pounce on him if he makes it to them in the third round.