The Denver Broncos interviewed a few more prospects than I knew about until recently, when Colinski enlightened me with Draft Countdown’s list of hopefuls. It revealed six additional players for us to look at and so we begin.
Jonathan Cyprien is a Strong Safety out of Florida International University (FIU). A 6’0", 209 lb. 4-year Senior, Cyprien is ranked 2nd out of 147 Strong Safety prospects in the nation and 44th overall in 2013. He is projected to be taken in the 2nd round this April. His pre-Combine 40 Time is listed as 4.56 seconds. Cyprien got some exposure at the Senior Bowl. Enough to draw notice from everyone.
#7 Johnathan Cyprien
Major: Physical Therapy.
Arm Length-30 1/2"
Hand Length-10 1/8"
The North Miami Beach native earned honorable mention All-Sun Belt notice as a true freshman, had an excellent sophomore campaign and didn’t have a significant drop off in play for his final 2 seasons.
In 2012, Cyprien drew enough recognition with his play to earn a Senior Bowl invitation. On the way to becoming FIU's all-time leading tackler (365), Jonathan played in 50 games with 13.5 TFL’s, 1 Sack, 28 Pass Breakups, 6 Interceptions including a Touchdown and 6 Forced Fumbles during his time as a Golden Panther. Cyprien closed his career having started every game the past three seasons, and leaves FIU with 45 career starts - the most by a safety in program history.
2012 (Senior): selected to the first-ever Senior Bowl Watch List. Cyprien earned unanimous preseason All-Sun Belt Conference First-Team honors. He started all 12 games, with 93 Tackles, 3.5 Tackles For Loss, 8 Pass Breakups, 4 Interceptions and 1 Forced Fumble.
2011 (Junior): All-Sun Belt Conference Second-Team...recorded 81 tackles along with 5.5 TFL’s and 8 Pass Breakups while starting all 13 games. Jonathan also recorded one blocked kick and 2 Interceptions including one for a Touchdown.
2010 (Sophomore): All-Sun Belt Conference First and Second-Team recognition...led the team with 113 tackles, the 4th-best single-season total in FIU history. Cyprien also had 3 TFL’s, 7 Pass breakups, an Interception and 3 Forced Fumbles. He also had at least 8 Tackles in 8 games.
2009 (Freshman): Cyprien appeared in all 12 games in 2009, earning honorable mention all-conference accolades while starting seven games and finishing second on the team with 78 Tackles and adding 1.5 TFL’s, 4 Pass Breakups, 1 Interception and 2 Forced Fumbles.
After a stellar Senior Bowl outing, FIU’s superstar strong safety is a surprise no more. He’s been the cordial and willing go-to guy in dealing with the press after practices or games; following wins or losses during his time at FIU. Jonathan served as a team captain in 2012.
Cyprien, who has been the top defensive player for FIU for the better part of three seasons, became the first Panther to suit up for the most prestigious college football all-star game (Senior Bowl).
In a recent interview, Cyprien said:
"I graduated already and I learned in college that sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Always be respectful to everyone you speak to wherever you are, on the field and off the field. Always be humble; these are things I learned in high school and college."
CBSSports | NFL.COM DRAFT
STRENGTHS: Cyprien certainly looks and plays like a Strong Safety with solid thickness throughout his build. He has an aggressive playing style and likes to meet the ballcarrier with a pop and refuses to let up. Jonathan has enough speed and athleticism to cover ground as a zone defender in the back half and line up against slot receivers inside. He beats receiver blocks with quickness or strength. Cyprien can be used as a blitzer on run or pass plays and is capable of overpower Running Back blocks. He has consistently played well against so-called "top" competition over his career, enjoying standout performances in past years against the likes of Texas A&M, Rutgers, Maryland and Louisville, among others.
WEAKNESSES: Some are concerned about Cyprien's straight-line speed. He doesn’t have elite range or the height/length combination to play as a single-deep safety and played a lot of two-deep coverage at FIU. Not a true center fielder, more of a big hitter who takes aggressive angles to the ball and consistently tackles ballcarriers high. Jonathan is quick enough to make a hit after the catch when deep, but is often a step slow in pass recognition coming into his area. His aggressiveness in coverage means he can bite on play action, but also means he will jump underneath routes. He could be better in changing directions and does not recover like a corner if beaten by a quick move off the line or in space.
COMPARES TO: Jordan Babineaux (Titans), Morgan Burnett (Packers)
Cyprien has an extremely well rounded skill set. He combines excellent range and instincts with soft hands. He possesses elite closing burst and he’s always around the football. Cyprien rarely misses tackles and he consistently delivers big hits on ball carriers and intended receivers. Although he has the physicality and movement skills to match up with tight ends, the fact that he’s only six feet tall could give him problems when he’s asked to do so. Cyprien has the ability to play either safety position because of his diverse skill set.
David_Wyatt over at Gang Green Nation has a scouting report on Cyprien as well.
(Cyprien is #7)
Johnathan Cyprien vs Western Kentucky (2012)
Senior Bowl Day 3 (NORTH PRACTICE - Safety Drills).mp4
Top 5 Safetys of the 2013 Draft
Jonathan Cyprien (S, Florida International)
As selected by the league’s head coaches, Cyprien was all-conference as a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior at FIU. Not too many college players anywhere will be able to claim that sort of feat. Jonathan has also shown himself to be a durable player. Not only did he start all 12 games in 2012, he started all 45 games during the past three seasons (2010-12). He has started the most career games ever at the safety position at FIU. Cyprien, along with teammate DE Tourek Williams, will join former FIU alumni Antwan Barnes (2007), Chandler Williams (2007) and T.Y. Hilton (2012) as the next players to reach the NFL.
The Denver Scouting staff must have seen something they like about Cyprien, since they interviewed him at the Senior Bowl. This kid is a hitter with leadership skills, humility and the savvy to deal with the media and he certainly won’t be an off the field problem. With a degree in Physical Therapy, he will be ahead of the curve on taking care of his body for the long run. Could this be an upgrade solution to Mike Adams? Jonathan would be cheaper, younger and he likely couldn’t do much worse than Adams did this year. With the stir that Cyprien made during the Senior Bowl and the week leading up to it, he may indeed end up as a 2nd round draft pick. In my opinion, the Broncos shouldn’t consider him until the third round. However, Cyprien probably won’t last until the 123rd selection and should go in the 85-95 range.
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