Lamarcus Joyner had a rough first season with the Raiders franchise, and a 2020 NFL Draft pick could force the team to move him back to safety sooner than later.
In 2019, the then-Oakland Raiders signed Lamarcus Joyner to a free agent contract totaling $42 Million for four years with $21.3 in guarantees after playing out his franchise tag with the Los Angeles Rams . Joyner, who played very well against the run, struggled in the passing game in 2019, playing mainly at slot corner.
Joyner had his most success while playing safety with the Rams, and played out of position, and on a defense that was collectively poor against the pass with the Raiders last season. The Raiders spent the offseason rebuilding their defense, adding two new cornerbacks in the 2020 NFL Draft in Damon Arnette and Amik Robertson, who will look to compete at the corner and slot corner positions respectively.
Robertson, who boasted 95 tackles and five interceptions in his senior year at Louisiana Tech, was drafted in the fourth round by the Las Vegas Raiders. He has size that aligns best as a slot corner in the NFL as he enters his rookie season with his eye on the starting role. Through camp, Robertson has been battling to outshine the incumbent Joyner, and with the elimination if preseason games, the amount of tape that Robertson would typically accumulate has diminished.
Robertson starting to get his ‘footing’
Vic Tafur stated on his podcast, State of The Nation, that Robertson had “Begun to gain his footing” and is looked at to be the “future slot corner”.
The rookie most certainly will earn significant reps this season, and once he develops a deep understanding of the structure of the defense, he can fight to move Joyner back to safety, a role in which Joyner certainly plays better in. Joyner moving to safety would put him back in position to play where he does best, stepping up in the box, and delivering a blow at impact on pass support.
Robertson’s expertise is tracking the ball, and in conjunction with his interception totals, he also accounted for 15 pass breakups in 2019.
Robertson has the talent to take the starting role, but the glaring question is not if he can, rather when. Joyner is guaranteed $11.2 million this season, and next season the team has zero liability if moved. The Raiders, knowing that they are on the hook for 2020 for a significant investment would be wise to utilize the talent of Robertson, while also capitalize on Joyner’s strengths.