FSU's Joyner hopes to improve NFL value with switch to CB

BY foxsports • July 25, 2013

Lamarcus Joyner said the decision wasn't that hard after all.
The defensive back wanted to return to Florida State for his senior season -- to earn his degree, to be a leader on defense and to improve his NFL draft prospects.
"It was a business decision," Joyner said. "It also gave me more motivation to come back to Florida State and get my degree, instead of feeling like, 'Hey, I established myself as a safety, what more can I do?
"I thought returning to cornerback maybe I would have a better shot and create more leverage going to the next level."
Following a junior season in which he had 51 tackles, Joyner had a decision ahead of him -- return for his senior year or enter the NFL draft. Among the factors were earning his degree, which he will complete in December. And then there's the height consideration.
For all that Joyner does on the football field, delivering vicious hits and being a leader in the secondary, many NFL scouts and general managers won't be able to get past this: Joyner is 5-foot-8.
Give him four more inches, and Joyner could be in the NFL already. Or be a potential first-round pick in 2014. He's 5-8 and can't change that, so Joyner did the one thing he could do. Joyner has returned to Tallahassee.
Joyner feels that his versatility will help him in the eyes of NFL teams, and he wants to show that he's a fast cover corner who can also hit like a safety. 
"It was as much his idea as it was anybody's," first-year defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt said this spring. "He feels like he has a chance to market himself better (to the NFL). The more positions you can play, the more value you create for yourself."
Joyner was the USA Today National defensive player of the year in 2009 at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas. He played corner as a freshman and then started at safety in 2011 and '12 (he was a first-team all-ACC safety last season).
If you are one of the conference's elite players at the position, why change positions? Joyner thinks it's what's best for him this fall and in the long term. And his move to corner will also give junior safety Karlos Williams, one of the top defensive backs in the class of 2011, a chance to start.
It's a risky move. The NFL has very few 5-8 corners. A 5-8 safety, like former Colts star Bob Sanders, could have a long pro career.
Joyner at least is presenting a distinguished resume to teams. Accomplished safety. Corner experience. Dangerous kick returner. He has another year to show the NFL more, too.
"Everybody knows I'm an undersized safety," Joyner said. "I'm an undersized cornerback. I'd rather be an undersized cornerback."
Contact Bob Ferrante at bobferrante17@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bobferrante.