Elite defensive back recruit out of Florida prep powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas, where he played cornerback and piled up 1,090 all-purpose yards on just 79 touches en route to being named USA Today's National Defensive Player of the Year. Arrived at Florida State in 2010 and played in all 14 games as a true freshman, recording 23 tackles, three pass breakups and one interception. Returned 16 kickoffs for 329 yards (20.6-yard average). Started all 13 games at free safety in '11 and tallied 54-3-4 with two tackles for loss and one sack. Was 13-397-0 (30.5) returning kickoffs. Moved into the strong safety role in '12, starting 14 games and totaling 51-5-1 with 1.5 tackles for loss. Was 18-424-0 (23.6) as a kickoff returner. Was a Jim Thorpe Award finalist in '13, starting six times at cornerback and eight times in a nickel position for the national champions -- posted 69-4-2 with seven tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. Also went 5-110-0 (22.0) returning kickoffs. His sack total ranked first among NCAA defensive backs. Did not miss a game in his four years at Florida State, concluding his time there 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.
Average athlete. Tight-hipped and rounds off breaks -- not sudden. Lacks foot speed to carry receivers vertically from the slot and is seldom placed in situations where he can be distressed in downfield coverage. Lacks size and stature for press coverage. Can be out-quicked by shifty slot receivers. Marginal recovery speed and catch-up burst when he gets caught peeking. Struggles to match up with size and speed in man coverage. Makes mental mistakes too much in banjo coverage and struggles to sort out bunch sets. Does not have a body ideally built to withstand a 16-game season.
A terrific college football player and galvanizing leader for a national champion, Joyner is a tweener lacking unique physical traits for the pro game, and his dimensions leave him vulnerable to mismatches. However, he possesses special intangibles which could enable him to make his mark on special teams and compete for a sub-package role as a short-hole plugger where he can make plays on the ball in front of him.ole plugger where he can make plays on the ball in front of him.teams and in the return game to carve a role. Has a make-it attitude and winning mentality that could allow him to overcome his physical limitations. Compares favorably to Panthers 2009 seventh-rounder Captain Munnerlyn.