Lamarcus Joyner wished his new workforce to be on the east coast. Born in Miami and a product of Florida State, Joyner thought “nothing was going to alter” returning nearer to dwelling as an unrestricted free agent.
He had spent the primary 5 years of his profession with the Rams, first in St. Louis then Los Angeles, earlier than the reigning Tremendous Bowl runners-up changed Joyner, 28, with 34-year-old security Eric Weddle final week.
“Till I heard Coach Gruden known as and I sort of did a complete 180,” Joyner mentioned on a convention name Thursday. “After getting to speak to him and among the guys within the constructing, I used to be very enthusiastic about the best way they have been going to make use of me and the way folks have been glad to have me right here. That was the largest decision-making level for me.”
Joyner can play free security and nickel, each areas of want for a younger Raiders secondary. After a number of splashy offensive additions early in free company – celebrity broad receiver Antonio Brown, offensive sort out Trent Brown and broad receiver Tyrell Williams – the Raiders started bolstering their protection by formally signing Joyner and defensive sort out Johnathan Hankins on Thursday.
“It’s thrilling seeing everyone that they’ve been signing,” Hankins mentioned Thursday. “I simply can’t wait to get again to work and show everyone improper and allow them to know that the Raiders are again.”
Oakland has featured one of many league’s worst defenses the final two seasons, however the latter levels of free company and 4 picks within the prime 35 of April’s draft present a chance to equip defensive coordinator Paul Guenther with extra.
“I really like embracing that problem. Sorry to return up to now, however even in school, once you have a look at the Oakland Raiders they have been at one level a outstanding and prestigious group and so they received plenty of video games,” Joyner mentioned. “Florida State did as nicely, however once I entered each organizations, they weren’t doing too nicely. Even my years with the Rams, we began off gradual, however they obtained the fitting guys in. I really feel like I’m one of many first stepping stones, a type of first milestones for Coach Gruden to carry the fitting guys in and alter this place round.”
The Rams drafted Joyner within the second spherical in 2014, and he started his profession taking part in all around the secondary. The final two seasons, in each of which the Rams made the playoffs, Joyner began at free security whereas tallying 4 interceptions, one interception returned for a landing, 12 passes defensed and 127 complete tackles.
He solely stands 5-foot-8, and a possible beginning security duo of Joyner and Karl Joseph (5-foot-10) would definitely lack dimension. However the pace Reggie Nelson hardly ever possessed at free security final yr could be there with Joyner. The Raiders would possibly even add a much bigger free security through the draft (additionally they just lately signed 6-foot-Three security Erik Harris to a two-year-deal) whereas taking part in Joyner extra typically within the slot.
“Going from nickel to security, nickel to security, it’s what retains me going,” Joyner mentioned. “It retains the season new and refreshing for me to at least one season be at nickel and the subsequent be at free security. It motivates me to simply benefit from the sport rather more. Simply with the ability to have that versatility and have the ability to present one factor one yr and one other the subsequent yr.”
The Raiders might need their beginning secondary (of their base protection) at present on the roster in safeties Joseph and Joyner and cornerbacks Gareon Conley and Daryl Worley. Conley is 23 years previous, Worley 24 and Joseph 25.
A yr after signing the 28-year-old Joyner would’ve been thought of a splash of youth for Gruden’s Raiders, he might be essentially the most skilled member among the many beginning defensive backs.
“I get pleasure from that position, however I have a look at it as younger guys carry management to the desk simply as a lot as veterans, since you by no means cease studying,” Joyner mentioned. “So once you obtained a bunch of various guys with totally different years of expertise you all get to be taught from one another. I’ve been in locker rooms the place I used to be the older man and I did a reasonably good job with motivating and main, and I’ve been in a locker room the place the leaders, guys with extra expertise than me, didn’t do an incredible job with that.
“I feel with my persona and the best way I embrace youth and the best way I simply embrace folks and my workforce it’s going to be an incredible, nice cohesiveness between all of us, the younger and the previous.”