Raiders DB Lamarcus Joyner Is A Better Safety Than Corner

The Las Vegas Raiders started their offseason last Monday and changes are coming with it. One of those should be Lamarcus Joyner switching positions and playing safety full-time after playing cornerback this past season, which should bolster his performance and that of the team’s secondary this upcoming year.

The Raiders defense struggled in 2019, there were some bright spots, but cornerback Lamarcus Joyner wasn’t one of them. Even though he provided adequate run support, his pass coverage was subpar, not what the team expected when they signed the former Rams defensive back to a 4-year $42 million deal last year.

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PFF Grades For Joyner

Pro Football Focus has given Joyner a positive run defense grade through his career. In 2019, the defensive back finished with a healthy 67.3 after having 75.0 the year before. Run support has not been the problem for Joyner, but that wasn’t his main function, cornerback was and that’s where the veteran faltered.

Last season, Joyner had a 42.8 grade in coverage, which isn’t encouraging at all. Moreover, it isn’t indicative of his career because against the pass, the defensive back had a 71.2 grade in 2018 and 91.3 the previous year. The reason why his play declined is that Joyner plays the pass better as a safety, which he did in 2018 and 2017 and his production decreases as a cornerback, which he did in 2019.

In his first two seasons with the Rams, Joyner had a coverage grade of 60.1 and 55.4 in 2015 and 2014 respectively. More in par with last year. As soon as he moved to safety, he thrived against the pass was enhanced so it was confusing when the Raiders said they would use the defensive back as a cornerback despite knowing he had a niche as safety.

Joyner was part of a defense that couldn’t keep offenses off the field, but at least, the Raiders are doing something about it. The team had a change to cut the veteran without any repercussions, but decided to keep him, put him in the position to succeed and get the most out of him. The way the Rams did in 2017 and 2018.

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