Summary: Florida State has had a talented defense the past few years with some versatile play-makers. One of the program's key contributors was Joyner. He was a versatile defender who made a lot splash plays for the Seminoles the past three seasons.
Joyner made his presence felt in 2011. The sophomore played well with four interceptions, three passes broken up and 54 tackles. He was once again an All-ACC selection in 2012. The junior had 51 tackles, five passes broken up and an interception. He averaged 25 yards per kick return.
In 2013, Joyner recorded 69 tackles with seven tackles for a loss, two interceptions, four passes broken up, three forced fumbles and 5.5 sacks. He put together a huge game against Clemson with a forced fumble and interception to help Florida State open up a big lead. The senior also had a big game against Duke in the ACC Championship. He played well against Auburn in the BCS title game.
However, Joyner was slower than expected at the Combine. WalterFootball.com spoke with sources who said they have Joyner grading out as a third-round pick. Considering some compare Joyner to Tyrann Mathieu, thitat would make sense for Joyner to go in Round 3.
Joyner is a pure football player. He has great instincts that he uses to make plays all over the field. Joyner could play man coverage as a slot corner and also could play free safety. Even though he's undersized, he does well when he lines up in the tackle box. Joyner is very tough, hits hard and is physical. He is a dangerous blitzer and contributes to run defense. Joyner has ball skills to create turnovers and is always around the ball. He should be a star on special teams as a returner and on coverage units.
For the NFL, Joyner would be best as a defender who is moved around from safety and cornerback. He could play slot corner and free safety while also playing a big role on special teams. Defensive coordinators have to protect Joyner from going up against big receivers and who his team matches him up against in man coverage from a speed perspective. Joyner could be a nice weapon as a wild-card defender, but in order for him to pan out, he has to go to the right coordinator who can use Joyner's strengths and protect his weaknesses.
Player Comparison: Ronde Barber. This is lofty praise for Joyner to be compared to a Hall of Fame candidate, but Joyner has a similar game to the Barber over the final 3-4 years of the long-time Buc's career. In that time, Barber was used as a jack-of-all-trades who would line up as an outside corner, slot corner, safety and the eighth man in the box. Barber used his instincts to make plays even after he was losing his speed in his mid-30s. Joyner is similar size to Barber (5-9, 180). Joyner could go in third round, and Barber was also a third-round pick out of Virginia. In the NFL, I see Joyner as being a poor man's Ronde Barber.
NFL Matches: Houston, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, San Diego, Carolina, San Francisco, Denver
There are a lot of teams that are going to target a cornerback in the mid rounds. After Joyner's Combine performance, he's more likely to be a third-round pick rather than go in the second round.
The Texans could use a nickelback to replace Bryce McCain and could look at Joyner on the third day. He would be a nice developmental project for Romeo Crennell.
Tampa Bay could use a nickel cornerback, and that was a weakness for the team in the 2014 season. Joyner would be a great scheme fit for head coach Lovie Smith and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. Without a fourth-round selection, the Bucs would have to take Joyner in the third round; he probably won't get to their fifth-round choice.
Pittsburgh has aging corners and missed Keenan Lewis last season. The Steelers need to find their long-term replacement for Ike Taylor. Staying in the AFC North, the Bengals need some youth at corner. Leon Hall had another serious injury while Adam Jones and Terrance Newman aren't long-term solutions.
The biggest need on the Chargers' roster is the cornerback position. San Diego could draft multiple cornerbacks early, so Joyner would be in play on Day 2. Last year, Tom Telesco also drafted some similar productive players who didn't test well leading up to the draft in Manti Te'o and Keenan Allen.
Carolina's defense is stacked, but the cornerback position is the one weakness. Joyner would be a perfect replacement for Captain Munnerlyn for the Panthers. San Francisco could use youth at corner with Carlos Rogers being cut.
Last but not least, Denver still has a need at cornerback. Champ Bailey and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie were replaced by Aqib Talib, but the Broncos could use more help at corner. They need more long-term corners for Jack Del Rio's defense.