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The Real “Defensive Back University”?

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Bleacher Report is back again with their “B/R NFL 1000,” an annual ranking of the best 1000 players in the NFL. This week, they released their Top 100 cornerback rankings and four former Seminoles landed within the Top 50.

43. Lamarcus Joyner, St. Louis Rams

Lamarcus Joyner was a four-year starter for the Seminoles and a key leader on the 2013 national championship defense at the STAR position. He was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams (now the Los Angeles Rams) and has been contributor at nickel cornerback throughout his two years in the pros. Bleacher Reports gave him a 82/99 grade. Here is what they say about his coverage skills:

“The Rams had high hopes for Lamarcus Joyner, a 2014 second-round pick, as a versatile piece in the secondary. He has the skill set to play safety or slot cornerback and possesses impressive feet and upper-body fluidity to adjust to the ball in the air. The Rams have yet to get the most out of Joyner, though, as he continues his inconsistent play, drifting away from his receivers through their routes while playing man coverage and getting drawn out of position in zone.”

34. Patrick Robinson, San Diego Chargers

A dual-sport athlete for Florida State, Patrick Robinson played football and ran on the track team for the Seminoles. He was drafted in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft and has played for the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers. He recently signed a 3 year, $14 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts. Bleacher Report gave him a 83/99 grade. Here is what they say about his coverage skills:

“Patrick Robinson has always had the physical talent to be one of the NFL’s better cornerbacks. Through his time in New Orleans, he struggled to consistently locate the ball in the air and stick with receivers through their routes in man coverage. Robinson was the type of cornerback who would too often lose focus on his assignment while with the Saints. That wasn’t an issue in 2015. He was fully focused and played with controlled intensity.”

24. Xavier Rhodes, Minnesota Vikings

A former wide receiver, Xavier Rhodes transitioned to cornerback during his time at Florida State and never looked back. He was a lock-down cornerback for the 2012 ACC Championship squad and went on to be drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He is a three-year starter for the Vikings and continues to improve each year. Bleacher Report gave him a 84/99 grade. Here is what they say about his coverage skills:

“The 6’1″, 218-pound Xavier Rhodes is a big cornerback but not a particularly physical or strong one. He doesn’t fend off receivers at the catch point and struggles to disrupt the timing of routes at the line of scrimmage. Rhodes needs to develop better strength and hand usage to compensate for the limitations created by his footwork. He can rely on his size to erase receivers down the sideline, but he lacks consistency because of his specific flaws.”

10. Ronald Darby, Buffalo Bills

Ronald Darby came to Florida State as a five-star recruit and certainly lived up to the hype. He started as a sophomore for the 2013 national championship team and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He started his rookie year with a bang, intercepting Andrew Luck in his first career game, and established himself as one of the best young cornerbacks in the league. Bleacher Report gave him a 88/99 grade. Here is what they say about his coverage skills:

“Ronald Darby didn’t have the impact plays that fellow rookie cornerback Marcus Peters had in 2015, but he was more consistent on a snap-by-snap basis. Darby showed off the speed that made him an appealing prospect at FSU while sticking to receivers in space with his quick and precise feet. He’s not a particularly long or strong cornerback but was able to match physicality with awareness at the catch point to disrupt the timing of his assignment’s routes.”

You can find the rest of Bleacher Report’s B/R NFL 1000 here. Perhaps Jalen Ramsey will be on this list in 2016?

Dakota Moyer
Florida State student and writer for NoleGameday.

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