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February 28, 2013

NFL Analysis and Combine Results: Jonathan Cyprien

Overview: Another talented safety from the Miami area, Cyprien made a name for himself under Mario Cristobal at FIU. The interchangeable safety is a talker on the field and never plays half speed, as he showed during unpadded practices at the Senior Bowl.

The North Miami Beach native earned honorable mention All-Sun Belt notice as a true freshman, playing every game and picking up seven starts; he ranked second on the team with 78 tackles while also picking off one pass, breaking up three others, and forcing two fumbles. There was no sophomore slump, as he led the Panthers with 113 tackles (three for loss) while intercepting another pass, recording six pass breakups, and creating three fumbles. Before the 2011 season, Cyprien claimed the number seven jersey previously worn by 2011 Tampa Bay Buccaneers' seventh-round pick Anthony Gaitor (he switched from the 25 sweater). While his tackle total decreased in his junior season (81), his tackles for loss (5.5) and passes defended (one INT, eight PBU) rose on his way to a second-straight second-team All-Sun Belt honor. His 11-tackle, two-pass-breakup effort against Louisville early in the year didn't escape the notice of scouts, even with teammate T.Y. Hilton lighting up the Cardinals as a receiver and returner for 268 all-purpose yards.

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 tackle, Cyprien notched 93 total tackles his senior year, including 3.5 for loss. He added five pass breakups and four interceptions, along with one forced fumble.



Looks and plays like a strong in-the-box safety with solid thickness throughout his build. Holds his ground against blocks from bigger opponents, and also runs through traffic to wrap up ballcarriers inside (sometimes as a fast edge blitzer). Possesses enough speed and athleticism to cover ground as a zone defender in the back half and line up against slot receivers inside. Closes on stretch runs and quick throws to outside receivers even when playing well back from the line. Beats receiver blocks with quickness or strength. His secure tackling in those situations is also notable, as he brings some attitude into his attempts unlike other defensive backs in this class. Used as a blitzer on run and pass plays, can overpower running back blocks.


Doesn't have elite range or the height/length combination to play as a single-deep safety. Quick enough to make a hit after the catch when deep, but is often a step slow to recognize the pass coming into his area. Aggressive in coverage, he can be sucked up by play action and will jump underneath routes, allowing plays over the top. Lacks elite change of direction and quickness in man coverage, and does not recover like a corner if beaten by a quick move off the line or in space.

NFL Comparison: Jordan Babineaux

Bottom Line:

One of the hardest-hitting safeties in the 2013 draft class, Cyprien offers enough range to be reliable in box coverage while displaying an aggressive mentality againt ball carriers and receivers. He plays smart, and that might be the most improtant trait when looking at safeties. However, despite it being unique, Cyprien doesn't have a very well known name ... yet.


Vertical Jump: 33.0 Inches


6'0" Height
31 3/4" Arm Length
217 lbs Weight
10 1/4" Hands


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