Back in 2019, one of the more high profile signings the Raiders made was signing former Rams safety LaMarcus Joyner. He had a solid stint with Los Angeles, but the Raiders switched him to playing nickel cornerback. The results weren’t great as Joyner struggled throughout the year.
Though it seems like it would make more sense to move Joyner back to his old position at safety, the Raiders have made it clear that they are going to give him another shot at improving at nickel corner. However, defensive backs coach Jim O’Neil did reveal some interesting information recently.
“When we went out and got Lamarcus Joyner in free agency, we thought he was a difference-maker at the nickel position,” O’Neil said on Silver and Black Today. “For us, he’s a nickel first. This year, we are also training him to play some safety.”
The Raiders brought in Jeff Heath and Damarious Randall in free agency and Johnathan Abram will be back this season. There wouldn’t be talk of training Joyner at safety if the plan was for him to be the team’s nickel corner all season. There’s a very good chance that he eventually lines up at safety before the season is over.
Amik Robertson Might Steal Joyner’s Job
Joyner will have to watch his back from the first day of training camp as the Raiders brought in Amik Robertson the fourth round of the draft. He projects to be a really solid nickel corner and could make a difference at the position as a rookie. If he outperforms Joyner, the team won’t hesitate to make a change.
Robertson may be small, but he’s got swagger for days and would fit in really well in the Raiders’ defensive backfield. Despite the fact that Joyner was a team captain last season, his position as a starter on defense is far from guaranteed in 2020.
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Robertson Wants to Be a Legend
Robertson was one of the most interesting selection the Raiders made in the draft. He was thought by many to be the best nickel corner in the draft but fell due to size and health concerns. If he can stay healthy, he could end up being the steal of the draft. He’s really excited about playing for the silver and black.
“It’s a huge honor man, they picked the right guy for the organization,” Robertson said on the Just Pod Baby podcast. “I like the expectations of the organization and the expectations I have of myself. You guys, Raider Nation, you didn’t make a mistake. I am the best guy for this position.”
He thinks concerns about his injuries were overblown.
“A lot of teams probably thought I was still hurt because a couple of months ago I had surgery on my groin,” Robertson said. “And with the coronavirus, teams couldn’t come down and see me. But I’ve been released (cleared) from that surgery since before the combine.”
The Raiders won’t complain as they potentially found a stud with very little investment. Roberston is ready to prove to the world that he should’ve been drafted much higher.
“I want to be legendary, man,” Robertson said.