Free Agent Spotlight: Lamarcus Joyner
Shoring up the backend of the Browns defense is a big priority for the 2018 off-season. One of the multiple options is free agent Lamarcus Joyner, a safety who previously played for the Rams. He only played in 12 games last season as he had a hamstring injury to deal with. He plays free safety and his addition would enable Jabrill Peppers to move to strong safety, closer to the line of scrimmage, where he can be a playmaker like he was in college.
The safety position for the Browns last season did not live up to expectations. Rookie Jabrill Peppers spent most of his season in the “deep centerfield” of the defense and Derrick Kindred had some big hits, but did not make enough plays. Each had only one interception last season and they combined for nine passes defended. Kai Nacua and Ibraheim Campbell also saw some playing time at safety, but neither were impactful.
Joyner has three career interceptions, all last season. He started his NFL career as a slot cornerback and was moved to safety. He plays well against the run and has great instincts when playing zone coverage. Besides for his big play ability, Joyner would be a good fit for the Browns because he played for Gregg Williams when Williams was with the Rams and is familiar with the defense Williams likes to run.
Finally, many people have discussed the possibility of the Browns drafting Minkah Fitzpatrick with the 4th pick in the upcoming draft. I feel that signing Joyner would not preclude the Browns from drafting Fitzpatrick. Both Joyner and Fitzpatrick have spent time at safety as well as a slot cornerback in the nickel, so having both of them would allow Gregg Williams to put these two defensive backs in great positions to make the plays.