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Round 2: Jonathan Cyprien (Florida International)
The Detroit Lions may seem set at safety at the moment, but in a draft with a lot of good depth at the position and one starter (Louis Delmas) with a history of injuries, the Lions are at the very least looking at the options in case a great player falls to them. One of those potential steals is Jonathan Cyprien, the safety from a small school in Florida with a big time game.
Cyprien was outstanding at the Senior Bowl and his ability to cover tight ends in man coverage, zone up on the deep zones and come up against the run makes him a truly "modern" safety. He has elite size and range for a free safety, with the ability to get to all areas of the field in cover one, and also the burst and quickness to break on routes around his zone. He also reads passing plays very quickly, which means he is never far out of position.
Cyprien's length, speed and quickness also shows itself in his ability to man up against slot receivers and tight ends. While he is not in the same league as the top man coverage safeties in this draft due to some technical problems, his measurables are all there, and against most players he will be able to hold his own. Of course, Cyprien, a strong safety by official designation, is also very strong against the run. He has the speed to get to the sideline before the running back, he can shed blocks and he is a powerful and secure tackler.
In all, Cyprien has the potential to be a Troy Polamalu-type wild-card safety for a team, and would effectively replace Louis Delmas if he developed to his potential. I agree that it would be a luxury for the Lions to take a safety so early in the draft, but Cyprien is a legitimate mid to late first-round talent.
Round 3: DJ Swearinger (South Carolina)
Swearinger is probably a more likely pick-up for the Lions, as it is more acceptable to use a third round pick on a talent that is undervalued but lacks a starting position on the team.
DJ lacks the size of Cyprien, but other than that they play the game a very similar way. Swearinger is a physical player and is one of the most powerful hitters in the draft. While he can be prone to missed tackles at times due to this, more often than not he remembers to wrap up first.
Swearinger is also very capable in coverage. He has spent time at cornerback (both slot and outside) and both safety positions at South Carolina, and it shows in his man coverage ability. While his 5'10" frame will lead to some struggles against tall tight ends, Swearinger has the quickness and technique to lock down slot receivers man-to-man. He is also very good in zone coverage, where despite his slow timed speed, he can cover a lot of field due to his great reads on the ball. Unlike many of the defensive backs this year, he is also a real ball hawk who will make his fair share of interceptions if quarterbacks challenge him.
In conclusion, Swearinger is a real favourite of mine, who reminds me a bit of Louis Delmas, but without the glass body. He would be a very good addition in the third round.