The NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and there's still many prospects to scout and stories to share. So why not talk about a safety that's slowly crept into first round potential. Johnathan Cyprien from Florida International University became popular during Senior Bowl week, forcing everyone to take notice of him.
Honestly, I've seen a lot of videos on the safeties available in the draft, but Cyprien has stood out the most to me. If I made a big board, he would be there as the first or second safety available. The sample size that I've seen on Cyprien is pretty small, and he didn't face the best competition. But as was shown in last years draft, Les Snead will draft small college players.
Let's see what the "experts" have to say on Cyprien.
What they have to say about Cyprien.
Conclusion: Had Cyprien gone to a bigger school and played against better competition every week, I think he'd be a universal first-round prospect, and right up there with the Kenny Vaccaros and Matt Elams of the world. For those interested in isolating attributes on tape, as opposed to blathering on about how many SEC schools a kid has faced, Cyprien may well already be there. I saw enough during Senior Bowl week to tell me that on the biggest and most important stage he'd been on to date, Cyprien did everything he possibly could to show that he belonged in the big time. Mission accomplished.
Doug Farrar - Number 40 on The Shutdown 50
19. S Johnathan Cyprien, FIU
Where he wins: An aggressive, physical player with enough mobility, awareness, and range to play the safety spots interchangeably. Sure tackler with aggression to make a play on ball carriers or when blitzing. Experience in the slot.
Josh Norris Top 100 Big Board
STRENGTHS Looks and plays like a strong in-the-box safety with solid thickness throughout his build. Holds his ground against blocks from bigger opponents, and also runs through traffic to wrap up ballcarriers inside (sometimes as a fast edge blitzer). Possesses enough speed and athleticism to cover ground as a zone defender in the back half and line up against slot receivers inside. Closes on stretch runs and quick throws to outside receivers even when playing well back from the line. Beats receiver blocks with quickness or strength. His secure tackling in those situations is also notable, as he brings some attitude into his attempts unlike other defensive backs in this class. Used as a blitzer on run and pass plays, can overpower running back blocks.
WEAKNESSES Doesn’t have elite range or the height/length combination to play as a single-deep safety. Quick enough to make a hit after the catch when deep, but is often a step slow to recognize the pass coming into his area. Aggressive in coverage, he can be sucked up by play action and will jump underneath routes, allowing plays over the top. Lacks elite change of direction and quickness in man coverage, and does not recover like a corner if beaten by a quick move off the line or in space.
NFL COMPARISON Jordan Babineaux
BOTTOM LINE One of the hardest-hitting safeties in the 2013 draft class, Cyprien offers enough range to be reliable in box coverage while displaying an aggressive mentality againt ball carriers and receivers. He plays smart, and that might be the most improtant trait when looking at safeties. However, despite it being unique, Cyprien doesn't have a very well known name ... yet.
NFL.com scouting report Grade 90.6 highest ranked safety
My scouting report on Cyprien
Does a good job of wrapping up
Has the speed and range you want
Played in the slot some
Played a lot in the box, I believe he led the team in tackles
Can deliver that kill shot
Does a solid job finding the ball
Good recovery speed
He's a S-W-A-G player
He's smart and makes veteran plays, read somewhere that he counted his players on kickoffs, and there was a clip where the ball carrier was trying to reach for end zone, but Cyprien tried to strip him, and the ball carrier couldn't get it in the end zone.
He goes 100% every play
Always wants to hit the ball carrier.
Has some solid ball skills
He can get easily blocked by bigger players
Does take some questionable angles
Some of his hits will be penalties (not as much as Matt Elam)
He did miss a couple of dive tackles ( mostly Louisville)
Needs to learn how to watch the receivers for keys (on what route will they run)
He did get ran over a couple of times (Louisville)
What worries me about Cyprien
LOUISVILLE!!!!!! That was his biggest competition besides the other seniors in the Senior Bowl, and that worries me. He didn't play horrible in that game, but he was exposed a little. Getting run over, and beat for a touchdown in coverage at the goal line isn't something to write home about. But it could have been that it was the 3rd game of the season, and he was playing more free than strong safety like he did later in the year.
It's curious, but it doesn't worry me too much.
Should the Rams draft Cyprien?
Yes. He will be a great asset to the Rams defense. I see him more of a FS, but I think he's interchangeable enough to play SS, and even line up in the slot a few times. It might take him a little while to get used to the pros, but I think he will be a starter at a high level from day one.
Make your own decision