One of the defensive back draft prospects that caught the eye of many so-called gurus and experts the past month following the Senior Bowl and Indianapolis Combine is Florida International University's Jonathan Cyprien.
Here's hoping he has the attention of the Dolphins.
No, I'm not saying the Dolphins should draft Cyprien. I've never seen him play in person and have questions about him being even a third-round pick. I'm thinking fourth or fifth based on what I know.
But I hope the Dolphins do their homework on this guy because, well, it is embarrassing or should be when guys who played two, three, four years a few miles from where the Dolphins conduct business go to other NFL teams and succeed.
It suggests the Dolphins are asleep about guys that are right under their noses.
Doesn't happen, you say?
Let me share a couple of names:
These guys played either at FIU or the University of Miami. And all were either mid-round picks or, in the case of Shields, not drafted at all.
Yet in each case, other teams valued the players more than the Dolphins. It suggests other teams knew more about the local players and had a greater conviction about them than the Dolphins.
Even when the Dolphins had those players playing a automobile ride away. Even when the Dolphins had the added advantage of being able to bring those players to their camp for "local" visits while other team would have had to bring them in as part of their more valuable "top 30" visits.
And as Cyprien is one of the few locals coming out of either FIU or UM this year, I sincerely hope the Dolphins really, truly grind on his tape and workout and interviews and history.
Again, I've not seen Cyprien play in person. But FIU beat reporter David J. Neal has the past two years. This is his breakdown on the player:
"Good size with a powerful neck and upper body makes him a boon in run support and why he can play strong safety as well as free. His speed to the ball is deceptively good, whether playing the run or the pass. He loves contact, which you want even in today’s NFL, but he sometimes seeks it out too readily. Play-action and a little shiftiness in a receiver or set victimizes him. But especially in the short zones, he’ll anticipate the play and get there with a shot at the interception.
"He’s a natural leader and a salt of the earth kind of guy you don’t have to worry about hearing from at 3 a.m. unless he’s pulling a teammate out of trouble. That Cyprien’s direction and leadership often seemed to fall on clogged ears last season is one reason FIU’s defense had an Open End Zone policy during the first eight games."
All this suggests Cyprien should be a keeper in the NFL. For the Dolphins, who might need safety help, the marching orders should be to know more about him than any other NFL team.
Because he played just down the road.