No. 5: Lamarcus Joyner, CB, Florida State
Previous ranking: No. 9
Making the case for Joyner: The 2013 season was about adding the right finishing touch to Joyner’s immensely successful college career, and it was an overwhelming success.
Joyner returned for his senior season with an eye on improving his NFL draft stock by moving from safety to corner. The switch was a stroke of genius -- both for Joyner and the FSU defense. He was exceptional in coverage, helping FSU’s secondary to rank as the No. 1 pass defense in the nation. He was a game-changer on the corner blitz -- a staple of FSU’s revamped defensive scheme -- leading the team with 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. And Joyner was a dynamic leader, providing a strong voice in the locker room and saving his best performances for Florida State’s biggest games. In a blowout victory over Clemson that helped define FSU’s season, Joyner recorded eight tackles and forced three turnovers, including a fumble on the Tigers’ opening drive that set the tone for the game.
The strong senior season earned Joyner a nod as a Thorpe Award finalist and a unanimous All-American.