Jets have big plans for Lamarcus Joyner after position change

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As the Jets get closer to training camp, I am examining the roster and giving you my top 25 players. Each weekday, we will reveal another person on the list, leading right into camp. I am not including rookies on this list because I do not feel it is possible to fully evaluate them before they play a game. 

No. 14: Lamarcus Joyner

Last year’s ranking: Unranked (not on team)

Position: S

Age on Opening Day: 30

How acquired: Signed a one-year, $3 million free agent contract on March 22

Years left on contract: 1

2021 Salary Cap figure: $2.9 million

Looking back at 2020

Joyner played slot corner for the Raiders primarily in 2020 and struggled. He only had five passes defended and allowed a 92.5 passer rating against, per PFF.

Joyner started six games and played in 14 for the Raiders. He missed two on the COVID-19 list. While Joyner struggled in coverage, he did have 66 tackles for Vegas. He had 12 in one game against the Chargers. 

Joyner had no interceptions in two years with the Raiders.  You have to go back to his final year with the Rams in 2018 for an interception. His best season was 2017 when he had three interceptions. 

In 2020, PFF graded Joyner 89th out of 121 cornerbacks. He played 572 snaps at slot corner and only 48 at safety, the position he played with the Rams. 

Outlook for 2021

The Jets are moving Joyner back to free safety, where he played with the Rams, and hoping that revives his career after two disappointing seasons with the Raiders. 

The Jets coaches were effusive in their praise of Joyner and you can tell they envision a big role and big things from him. The safety position is going to be critical for the Jets since they have such little experience at cornerback. Defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich recently spoke about how they plan on using Joyner in man-to-man coverage and taking advantage of his skills there, as well as playing deep safety.

Joyner and Marcus Maye could form a nice tandem as both can play deep or in the box. They should give Ulbrich and Robert Saleh some flexibility in their defensive looks because of their versatility.

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