Johnathan Cyprien Scouting Report: NFL Outlook for Florida International S

Ryan Lownes@@ryanlownesFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2013

Jonathan Cyprien

Jacksonville Jaguars

Second Round: 33rd Pick

It happened almost overnight. With a stellar performance at the Senior Bowl, Florida International’s Jonathan Cyprien went from virtual anonymity to one of the hottest prospects in the 2013 draft class.

Cyprien is not your ordinary safety from the Sun Belt conference. He jumps off the tape, aggressively pursuing the ball on every play.

But is he rated as highly in NFL war rooms as he is in the Twitter draft community?

Strengths Weaknesses
+ Looks the part with great size and a muscular build - Relatively inexperienced in man coverage
+ Non-stop motor, relentlessly flies around the field - Aggressiveness sometimes takes him out of position to make a play
+ A physical striker with closing speed and range - Below average timed speed in the 4.6 area
+ Team captain, a high-energy leader - Rarely challenged by top college competition



For a safety from the Sun Belt conference, Cyprien sure looks the part. Rocked up with muscle, he possesses ideal size for the position at 6’0 ¼”, 217 pounds.

Though he ran in the 4.6 area in the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, Cyprien is a tremendous athlete with the necessary speed and short-area burst. His athleticism was evidenced by more impressive results in other drills such as a 38.5” vertical at the NFL Scouting Combine. He is fairly fluid when changing direction and has some natural explosiveness.

Overall, evaluators will not be very impressed by workout numbers, but flip on the tape and you notice a gamer who is able to get the most out of what physical abilities he has.



A competitive, high-energy player who leads by example, Cyprien is the type of individual every coach wants in his locker room. In addition to making a positive impressive in interviews, he was named a team captain as a senior.

In his four-year college career, Cyprien started every game for the Panthers.



Florida International ran a two-deep zone, which required Cyprien to patrol large areas of the field. In addition to lining up deep, he also moved around the formation quite a bit during his time with the Panthers. At times, he would move into the box as a linebacker. He also has experience lining up over receivers in the slot and in-line tight ends.


Playing the Ball

For his size, Cyprien plays the ball very well in the air. On tape, anticipation and burst make up for his lack of elite timed speed. He reacts with good timing and closing burst, breaking up passes. Due to that timing and his striking force, he is able to separate receivers from the ball.

Cyprien possesses the requisite production against the pass, finishing his college career with 29 passes defended and seven interceptions.


Against the Run

Cyprien excels against the run, where he has been active and willing since he stepped onto the field in college. On film, it appears he wants to be involved in every play, displaying a relentless motor. He is a finisher, a punishing but reliable tackler with excellent range.

When playing the run, Cyprien shows good recognition skills and generally does a nice job of locating the ball. He is quick to react and fill the box, but aggressive pursuit angles occasionally work against him.

His effort level is matched by his toughness, as he willingly takes on blockers, inviting contact. He can hold his own at the point of attack, but does not shed blocks particularly well and is often engulfed by bigger linemen.


Man Coverage

While at Florida International, Cyprien was rarely counted on in man coverage. Due to inexperience, some NFL teams could view him as either a liability or a project. Before he is able to earn reps at the next level, he may need to clean up his footwork and technique.

That said, he appears to be big and physical enough to match up against NFL tight ends. Likewise, he is an excellent athlete for his size with fluid hips. His explosiveness and closing speed show when he has to plant and drive. By most accounts, Cyprien seemed to have held his own against smaller, quicker competition at the Senior Bowl.


Zone Coverage

Where he may lack experience in man coverage, we have seen Jonathan Cyprien handle incredible zone responsibilities.

A four-year starter at safety, he displays a great understanding of zone concepts. Though he occasionally second guesses himself against play-action, I came away impressed by his zone awareness.

Cyprien excels moving forward, covering the field in front of him with great tenacity. Whether playing a deep or shallow zone, he displays impressive range and the ability to cover wide areas.

I do have some concerns about his technique in deep zone. However, he has flashed tremendous capability as a playmaking center fielder, notably against Louisville as a senior.



Cyprien earns high marks across the board as a tackler. Not only is he a punishing hitter, but he is also sound and reliable.

A blend of size, speed and toughness make him an intimidating defender. He explodes through ball-carriers, displaying great striking force as he brings his hips into the tackle.

Unlike many hard-hitting defensive backs, Cyprien is also a dependable wrap-up tackler with good form and discipline.

He was very productive in college, leading the Panthers in tackles as a sophomore and senior, recording 265 total in his four years. Additionally, he forced six fumbles in his time at Florida International.


Future Role/Scheme Versatility

At the next level, Cyprien would fit best in a scheme that allowed him to primarily operate in zone coverage. He is at his best when he can roam the field. While he excels covering the ground in front of him in the box, he also could be seen as a free safety.

Despite playing mostly zone in college, Cyprien may be seen as capable of playing in less familiar schemes. He is not limited by a lack of size or athleticism.

Also worth noting, he was a good special teams player in college, making his impact felt on return coverage teams.


Draft Projection: Late first to early third round    


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