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FIU safety Johnathan Cyprien is in the top 10 of the best players available on most draft experts lists when the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft begins tonight at 6:30 p.m.
There were three safeties selected in the first round of the NFL Draft last night with Kenny Vaccaro, who went to the New Orleans Saints, the only safety clearly rated ahead of Cyprien.
Eric Reid, who was the second safety taken last night, was rated below Cyprien on most draft experts lists. Reid was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers, one of several teams that showed interest in Cyprien. And then Matt Elam, who was rated both ahead and below of Cyprien, was the third safety taken in the first round. Elam was chosen by the world champion Baltimore Ravens with the last pick of the first round.
I don't think Cyprien will have to wait too long tonight to hear his name called by an NFL team because there are several teams choosing early in the second round who have a big need for a safety. Among those teams are the Jacksonville Jaguars (1st pick in 2nd round), Philadelphia Eagles (3rd pick), Cincinnati Bengals (5th pick), Arizona Cardinals (6th pick), Tennessee Titans (8th pick), Buffalo Bills (9th pick & 14th pick), Carolina Panthers (12th pick) and Dallas Cowboys (15th pick).
I don't see Cyprien lasting beyond the 15th pick of the second round because the two teams I think are most likely to take FIU's all-time leading tackler are in the top 15 of the second round: the Bengals and the Cowboys.
The Bengals currently have Nate Clements (34 years old) and Reggie Nelson (30) as their starting safeties, who are both good players but are getting up there in NFL age. The top backup safety for Cincinnati is Chris Crocker, who is 33. Plus, the Bengals go up against two pretty good quarterbacks four times each season in Baltimore's Joe Flacco and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger. Add to it that Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer personally came down to FIU earlier this week to workout Cyprien and you could see why Cyprien could be wearing tiger stripes on his helmet this fall.
However, I get a feeling Cyprien will be wearing a blue star on the side of his silver helmet this fall instead of tiger stripes. The Dallas Cowboys have a serious vacancy at safety right now. Gerald Sensabaugh, 30, and Barry Church, 25, who are nothing special, would be the Cowboys starting safeties if the season started today. Backups are Will Allen, 30, and Danny McCray, 25, who neither strike fear in quarterbacks or receivers. One could make an argument that teams may have passed on Cyprien in the first round because of the quality of competition FIU faces in conference. Obviously, the Sun Belt is no SEC, but the Cowboys already have proof that is not a factor when they look at their star defender DeMarcus Ware from Troy -- a former conference rival of FIU. Like the Bengals, the Cowboys also face some good quarterbacks in their division with the New York Giants' Eli Manning and Washington Redskins' Robert Griffin.
Last year I did not see the Indianapolis Colts trading into the late third round to draft T.Y. Hilton so take my guess for what it's worth. I had T.Y. going to the Atlanta Falcons as a slot receiver to complement Roddy White and Julio Jones.
I'll be at Cyprien's place tonight watching the draft with him and I'll have a story and blog about it later. You can also follow me on Twitter: @PetePelegrin for live updates from Cyp's place.
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