Has the height and length to defend tall receivers/tight ends
A tad tight
With his reckless style of play, injuries could be an issue
Summary: In a deep and talented safety class, Jonathan Cyprien has stood out as one of the best prospects. Over the last four years, Cyprien has proven to NFL scouts that he is an impact player in the back end of the defense.
Cyprien broke into the starting lineup as a freshman and was an instant contributor with 78 tackles, an interception and two forced fumbles. He thrived the next two years, but his best season was his senior campaign when he totaled 93 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble, five passes broken up and four interceptions.
With small-school prospects, the concern of the competition is always present, but Cyprien laid those to rest with a superb showing at the Senior Bowl. Cyprien was all over the field during the practices. He did an excellent job in pass coverage on receivers downfield. Aside from his speed and coverage ability, Cyprien displayed his aggressive swagger. He was very physical, and it looked like he was using all of his self control from blasting players. He would give a nice thud, but restrained himself from laying out other players.
Cyprien looks like a very versatile NFL safety. His pass coverage is his best trait. As a deep safety, Cyprien is fast and covers a lot of ground downfield. He has the size and length to be able to defend tall receivers and tight ends while also possessing the speed to play man coverage on tight ends and slot receivers. He also will dish out plenty of hard hits.
In run support, Cyprien is big enough to function as the eighth man in the box. He has good strength and tackling form to take on running backs. If he doesn't win a starting spot immediately, Cyprien will be a good special-teams contributor.
As a well-rounded safety who happens to be an asset in pass defense, Cyprien is in the running to be a late first-round pick. WalterFootball.com has spoken with some scouts who prefer Cyprien to the draft's consensus top safety, Texas' Kenny Vaccaro. In time, Cyprien should develop into an impact starter and could become a Pro Bowl-caliber safety as a professional.
Player Comparison: Louis Delmas. Cyprien and Delmas are good friends, as they both hail from Miami. They play the safety position in a similar fashion where they throw their bodies around with reckless abandon. Both players cover a lot of ground and never hesitate to pop offensive players. Delmas was the 33rd-overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Cyprien should go in the same range as a late first-round or early second-round pick.
NFL Matches: San Francisco, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Carolina, Pittsburgh, Washington
There are a number of teams that could target Cyprien. Late in the first round, the 49ers and Ravens both need a safety. San Francisco lost Dahson Goldson, while Baltimore said goodbye to both of its starting safeties from last year. The Ravens signed Michael Huff, but still need another safety. Cyprien could be selected at the end of the first round by either of the Super Bowl participants.
The Jaguars could select Cyprien atop Round 2. They need safety help, and he could be the best player on the board.
A few picks later, the Bengals have a high second-rounder and another one later in Round 2. If Cincinnati doesn't take a safety in the first round, it could target Cyprien with one of its second-round picks.
Carolina would be fortunate to land Cyprien in the second round. The Panthers had horrible safety play in 2012, and cap limitations have prevented them from significantly upgrading the position.
The Pittsburgh Steelers could use safety help and would consider Cyprien if he falls to their pick.
If Cyprien falls in the second round, he shouldn't slip past the Redskins. They badly need to improve their safeties. Washington has shown interest in Cyprien.