I'm very interested to see how the move of Lamarcus Joyner from safety to cornerback is going to work, as well as the motivations behind it. I first chatted about the move with Jon Drummond, Joyner's mentor from his high school days a few weeks ago at the SFE tryouts in Miami, and we've been kicking around the possibilities in the comment section and over email.
Could the move have been a way to entice Joyner back to Florida State for his senior season?
Remember, his backfield mate Terrence Brooks thought he was leaving for the NFL draft, and gave Tomahawk Nation an interview after the Orange Bowl about the need for him to step up as the new leader (we had to scrap the article when Joyner quickly announced that he was coming back).
At 5'8, Joyner is always going to face questions about his ability to play safety in the NFL. They'll persist despite his substantial tape proving that he can do it. But the ability to play corner is certainly something that would boost his draft stock, because the league values position versatility.
As for how it will work? I think Joyner will be just fine. Remember, he is a freakish athlete with great strength and arms that are much longer than his 5'8 frame would suggest. FSU will be playing much more press coverage in its new defensive scheme, and Joyner has the length and strength to do so.
Also, remember that Joyner is an explosive blitzer. It wouldn't surprise me to see FSU blitz him from the short side of the field.
Some really won't like the move, but having Joyner on the field in 2013 is better than having him in the NFL.
The other half of the equation is Karlos Williams. We've called for Karlos Williams to get on the field in some capacity for the better part of two years, because he is a freakish athlete. Unfortunately, Williams turned down the coaches request to move to offense, and failed to beat out Joyner or Brooks. And while he was a good kick returner in 2011, he took a step back in 2012, fumbling multiple times and making poor decisions on when to take the ball out of the end zone. Williams did show some promise at linebacker against Georgia Tech, including making the game sealing interception.
But up until now, Williams has been a freak athlete and not a very good football player. He'll now get his chance. Will he be a good safety? I don't know.
I also don't believe it is a given that he'll play in the box, with Brooks playing deep (the traditional "free safety" role). Williams is more fast than quick, in that he doesn't change direction all that well and his acceleration isn't great. But he is a huge hitter, and when he gets to top speed, he may be the fastest defender on the team. Brooks is a fine run defender and has better change of directions skills, though he is not as fast at top speed as Williams, and I do believe there's an argument to be made that Williams could play the role of the deep defender.
Let's hear your thoughts on this.