Cowboys Draft 2014: Scouting Lamarcus Joyner

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Because there has been such a high correlation in recent years between the top collegians invited to Valley Ranch for pre-draft visits and who the Cowboys end up drafting, it's important to know as much as possible about these players. As a service to you BTB is providing a series of detailed scouting reports on each of these targets. Today the series continues with our look at Florida State defensive back, Lamarcus Joyner.

Name: Lamarcus Joyner

Position: Defensive Back

School: Florida State

Height: 5’8"

Weight: 184 LBs

Games Studied: Duke, Clemson, Pittsburgh

Measurables vs others at his position:

Note: This spider graph provides a visual representation of a players’ measurable traits, and combine results.  The filled in area of the chart, as well as the number in the light grey circle represents the percentile among the player's peers by position. A score of 85 here represents that out of every 100 players at his position, the player has a better result in that test than 85 of those 100.

Pass Game:

Lamarcus Joyner played corner in the Florida State defense in the 2013 season, lining up primarily inside over the slot WR or aligning for the blitz of the edge. The FSU scheme asked him to play off, as well as a lot of zone coverage, and Joyner thrived. Joyner is an extremely instinctive player, and he recognizes plays very well.

When he’s back in his zone, he sees the play develop in front of him and reacts with great quickness. When the ball goes underneath him he comes downhill quickly with a purpose, and showed the ability to deliver a blow that would dislodge the ball, as well as getting his hands in position to knock the ball down. Early in the ACC Championship against Duke, he dropped into his zone and when the slot man ran a short crosser he moved his eyes outside to the #1 WR, and sunk underneath his in breaking route, going up and making a clean hands catch for the Interception. He always seems to know where he fits in the zone and plays it well.

When he plays man he shows the ability to "click and close" on an underneath route from an off position, and knock the ball loose. In press his lack of size puts him at a bit of a disadvantage but he’s physical enough to hang with bigger receivers.

As a blitzer off the edge he is effective, and when he gets a path to the QB he has another gear to close on the play.  His awareness shows up in this aspect of the game as well, as he is going for the ball and the sack, not just the hit.

Run Game:

Despite being on the small side Joyner showed no fear mixing it up in the run game, when he was tight to the core of the formation he was a part of the pile, and out in space his instincts showed as he recognized plays and tackled well although he did tend to come in high on RBs which could get him in trouble.

When I want to evaluate a CB against the run, especially when they play against spread teams, I like to watch how they play against the bubble/smoke screens that are so prevalent. This will show me their willingness to come downhill, work their way through blockers, and deliver a blow and secure the tackle. This was something that Joyner did well.  n one play the Duke QB attempted to check the ball down to his RB on a bubble route on a standard drop back pass. Joyner saw the play coming and attacked hard from his zone and delivered a big time hit on the back, dislodging the ball for big incompletion.

Return Game:

In addition to defense, Joyner is a very good return man, whose quickness, and burst make him dangerous with the ball in his hands, whether on a turnover or a kick off.

Conclusion/Cowboys Projection:

For this Dallas defense, I view Joyner as a FS candidate. At only 5’8" 189 lbs he’s too small to play on the outside at CB, especially without elite CB speed with only a 4.55, however his instincts, intensity, physicality and ball skills make him a very good candidate to play the deep middle for Rod Marinelli’s defense. He is a bit small for a safety, although he may occasionally get boxed out by TEs and bigger WRs but he plays a lot bigger than his size, and is always around the ball. That plus his pure playmaking ability likely make Joyner a late 2nd or 3rd round player in this draft.

Pro Comparison: Tyrann Mathieu, DB, Arizona Cardinals (2013 3rd round)

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