Oct 26, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars safety Johnathan Cyprien (37) chases Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline (82) during the first half of the game at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
3) Johnathan Cyprien, Strong Safety
Johnathan Cyprien has had a rough go of it since being taken in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He has had little support on the tail end of the defense at the other safety spot, putting increased pressure on him to do his job perfectly. For a young player expected to make an impact immediately, that’s difficult to do. The Jaguars have looked to shore up the free safety spot with the addition of Sergio Brown, hopefully opening Cyprien up to do some serious work for the first time in his career.
2014 was underwhelming for the strong safety as he didn’t build on a promising end to his rookie campaign in 2013. 2013 saw him finish with a pick, six passed defensed, two fumbles forced, a sack, and 86 solo tackles. 2014 saw him with no picks, just three passes defensed, no sacks, and 80 solo tackles. 2014 was a sophomore slump. Expect him to come roaring back in 2015.
He finished 2014 with three straight positive grades from Pro Football Focus, performing especially well in run defense. He cut down on his missed tackles (21 on the season, tied for second among safeties) with just five in the final four games. While we’d like to see that number even lower, it shows improvement. He also finished third in defensive stops among safeties (35). If the free safety spot is competently manned, expect his tackling to be better and his stops to continue to be high. Gus Bradley may finally be able to use Cyprien the way he has always wanted in 2015. That should pave the way for a breakout campaign.
Who else do you think has breakout potential for 2015?
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