By Ryan Alfieri, Editor
With both starting safeties set to be free agents in March, the Jets will certainly be in the market for new safeties to add depth or possibly even start for the green and white in 2013.
One of the fastest rising prospects in the draft is the lightly-recruited FIU product Johnathan Cyprien. Cyprien impressed a lot of scouts at the Senior Bowl because of how physically impressive he was for a smaller-school product. Based on pre-draft rankings, he could go as early as the late-second round.
Cyprien certainly looks the part of an NFL safety. He plays very aggressively, particularly against the run. He love roaming around the box and making plays against the run. He shows the lower body strength necessary to gain leverage against offensive lineman. He is terrific at reading screens and swing passes and can lay the big hit when given the opportunity. In terms of pass coverage, Cyprien fluid hips and good ball skills.
The biggest concerns with Cyprien stem from his lack of straight-line speed. He played in a lot of two-deep coverage that restricted his responsibilities to only one side of the field, which may explain how he was able to make so many “splash” plays. There is also the concern of how much he benefited from playing against lower competition. Teams in Cover-1 schemes would be mistaken to throw Cyprien into the fray right off the bat.
Pro Comparison: Troy Polamalu
Fit with the Jets:
Because the Jets tend to use a lot of man coverage with Cover-1 behind it (one deep safety), Cyprien may not be a good fit for the Jets, at least immediately. Teams that run more Cover-2 concepts will be much more interested in Cyprien and take him much earlier than when the Jets would be interested.
If Cyprien happens to take a tumble, the safety-needy Jets should take a long look at this physical specimen, especially if he runs well. But for now, the Jets would be better suited spending their second or third-round pick on more immediate needs.