Hot on the heels of the report that Bengals DC Mike Zimmer held a private workout for FIU safety Jonathan Cyprien on Monday, momentum for a Bengals-Cyprien pairing seems to be growing. Reflecting this notion is Greg Cosell's latest mock draft, which has the Bengals selecting the draft's second-highest rated safety at 21.
21: Cincinnati Bengals: Here’s where one of my favorite players in the draft comes off the board. It’s safety Jonathan Cyprien of Florida International. I loved this kid on film. The first thing I noticed when I plugged in the tape was his size and muscle definition. His dimensions are very similar to Vaccaro’s, but Cyprien just looks bigger and more defined. What really stood out was he played the game fast, with velocity, passion and tenacity. There’s no question there were times he was over-aggressive and reckless, although overall he played with an efficient mix of ferocity and control. Given his height – over 6-foot-0 – and his physique, he exhibited surprising athleticism, with excellent change of direction and closing speed.
Until Andre Smith re-signs with the team, right tackle will still remain a high priority for the team, but by the time the Bengals were on the clock in Cosell's mock, D.J. Fluker had already been selected. Going by history, the Bengals prefer to draft by need in the first round, so Cyprien definitely fits that mold as the highest-rated player remaining on the board at a position of need.
When considering safeties, however, Marvin Lewis made it clear that the player has to be able to cover in addition to being a solid, aggressive tackler. Speaking to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, Lewis stated that he wasn't interested in "a little muscled-up strong safety. That guy doesn't fit for me." He wants someone who won't be a liability in coverage, and Cosell seems sold on that aspect of Cyprien's game.
As a deep defender, Cyprien showed a very smooth back pedal, with the ability to plant and drive with burst and speed. His range as a single high safety, with his size and stride length, was outstanding. He made an interception against Louisville that was as good as any I have seen this off-season breaking down college tape.
The draft is only three days away now, and the Bengals' options in the first round are still wide open. Until they are officially "on the clock," we likely won't known which way they are leaning.