The Jacksonville Jaguars appear to be at least another year away from being perennial playoff contenders, and general manager David Caldwell is counting on his first draft class from 2013 to become the foundation for the franchise moving forward. The Jaguars had several young players contribute in Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley’s first season, but some of those young players need to make significant progress in year 2.
James DiMaio over at NFL Spin Zone recently put out an article highlighting some of the second year players who could make a leap in 2014. The Jacksonville Jaguars got a mention in the form of 2nd round pick Johnathan Cyprien.
After the season and Super Bowl performance Kam Chancellor had, the football world seems to be developing an affinity for big hard-hitting safeties.
Add Cyprien to the list.
At 6’0”, 215 pounds, he’s not quite as huge as Chancellor (6’3”, 230 lbs), but he is certainly an intimidating safety with wood-laying ability. He struggled at the beginning of his rookie season, but turned things around down the stretch and validated the Jags using the No. 33 pick on him a year ago.
If the Jags actually win some games in 2014, Cyprien could become a household name.
Kam Chancellor has been brought up as a comparison for Cyprien, but the two players aren’t being used exactly the same way. Chancellor has the advantage of an All-Pro safety next to him (Earl Thomas), so his role is much more defined. The starting safety spot next to Cyprien is currently a toss-up between Josh Evans and Winston Guy, and Cyprien’s responsibilities will likely change depending on who ends up winning the job.
Cyprien has the size and athleticism to become a force on this defense, and head coach Gus Bradley knows how to use him. If Cyprien can build on the solid play he put together in the 2nd half of his rookie season, then he could be a special player.
– Daniel Lago