Even after the likes of Greg Robinson and Aaron Donald had donned the horns, the acquisition of Lamarcus Joyner in the second round of the draft caused a lot of excitement amongst Rams fans. A stand-out star on a crushing Florida State defense, Joyner addressed a very real need on the Rams roster. Projected to go in the third or fourth, he instead came off the board 41st overall, after Les Snead outmaneuvered the Tennessee Titans.
His college stats tell quite a story-
197 tackles (128 solo), 10.5 for loss, 6.5 sacks. 8 interceptions, 21 passes defended and 3 forced fumbles. All this while not missing a single game due to injury and finishing his collegiate career with 41 consecutive starts.
Instinctive and anticipatory. Advanced understanding from the back end -- makes subtle, pre-snap adjustments and diagnoses plays. Steps downhill quickly. Outstanding overall production in all facets. Good competitive playing speed -- runs as fast as he needs to. Very good football-playing demeanor -- confident and opportunistic. Showed up in big games and made clutch plays (see Clemson). Times up the blitz very well and plays bigger than his size. Has contributed as a gunner and displayed good short-area burst in the return game. Exceptional work ethic and leadership traits. Respected, vocal team leader with an infectious attitude that can unite a locker room. Has been extremely durable, especially given his size and playing style. -NFL.com
The only real knock on him is his size, which at 5' 8" and 184 pounds is not intimidating. Playing physical against some of the bigger wide-outs may not be an option and it has also lead some to question his durability at the NFL level, despite the above mentioned college feat. It is almost obligatory in any article to say of him, "He plays bigger than his size."
Expectations for Joyner this season?
After the rather dismal efforts of the secondary last year and the release of Cortland Finnegan, expectations are high for the Rams second round pick. At Florida State he exhibited all the traits that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams likes to see in a player- versatility, aggression and a strong work ethic. With about equal time as corner back and safety, I personally think we will see him take snaps at both positions this next season, but will be spending most of his time covering the slot.
Transitioning to the NFL is difficult for every player, and if Joyner can do so quickly, it's possible he will make a very significant contribution this year. From what this writer has seen in OTAs, he has the proper attitude and I expect a solid year from him... But keep in mind that he will still be a rookie and prone to those irksome rookie mistakes.
Will he make the Rams roster in 2014?
No way he doesn't make the roster. The only question will be precisely how he will be used on the field.