Where to begin with this New York Jets team? They’ve pretty much lost their entire team when they were gutted during free agency. Of course they have a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball, so 2013 is more than likely a rebuilding year. Maybe even beyond that. So where do they start?
Let’s take a look at their secondary—no, I’m not talking about Darrelle Revis. Before the 2012 season, the Jets had problems at the safety position so they went out and fixed it. The team picked up safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell and solidified their weakness; the defensive unit did well, even without their star cornerback. Too bad the rest of the team didn’t show up to play.
Unfortunately the Jets have lost those two safeties during this free agency and don’t have quality replacements for Bell or Landry. They have to address this one (out of many) problem through the draft.
Let’s take a look at strong safety Jonathan Cyprien from Florida International:
First, let’s get where he went to school out of the way. Yes, he excelled against weaker competition but let’s not forget he also showed his abilities against bigger programs like Texas A&M and Maryland—the safety also impressed during Senior Bowl week.
Cyprien has enough experience in the slot to make him a potential every-down defender. The six-foot safety showed he is durable with 45 collegiate starts in four seasons; last season, he led his team in tackles (93) and interceptions (four). He has decent speed and can cover a lot of ground with his athleticism to make plays. He has an aggressive playing style that Rex Ryan would love. He has good ball skills and has the potential to be a great route-jumper. The safety is a big hitter in space and can make some big plays.
He is a very physical player who can cover the runs and blitzes with his aggressiveness. Cyprien is quick enough to defend running quarterbacks, as well as cover screens and swing passes.
What the safety does need to work on some more, due to his aggressive style, is his tackling. He has good form, but sometimes he looks for the big hit and that has led to some missed tackles. He needs to change that, especially at the pro level.
During the Senior Bowl, Cyprien showed his potential. He worked hard during practice, played aggressive and showed scouts that he belongs.
Can the small-school safety be productive in the Jets’ secondary?