This offseason, we’re going to take a look at some of the players on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ roster who could potentially make the leap from relative unknown to Pro Bowler or better. With the departure of Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jaguars no longer have an identifiable “face of the franchise”, but there are numerous players who could fill that void with their play on the field.
Today we highlight a guy who should be primed for a big season in 2014 – safety Johnathan Cyprien.
Expected to be an immediate starter after being the 33rd overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, expectations were high for Cyprien mainly because he seemed like a perfect fit as a strong safety in Gus Bradley’s defensive scheme. Comparisons were made to Kam Chancellor, but Cyprien played somewhat of a different role in his rookie year.
After a very rough start to his career, Cyprien settled down in the second half of 2013, particularly in coverage. Here is the progression of his Pro Football Focus coverage grade over the course of his rookie year.
Cyprien was not very good in coverage by any metric at the beginning of the season, but he made significant strides after the bye week. The safety position next to him was in flux, and Cyprien appeared to benefit from the steady presence of Josh Evans and Winston Guy in the latter weeks.
Cyprien came into the league with the profile of a big-hitting, thumper who can control the middle of the field and help in run-support, but he also has the range and athleticism to play a big part in the passing game. If he can build on the second half of his rookie year, he has the chance to be a special player.
- Daniel Lago