Evan Silva throws up a curveball in his latest mock draft. With the 23rd pick he has the Vikings taking WR DeAndre Hopkins. We’ve seen that name thrown out there plenty. But then there’s pick #25. Silva goes completely against every assumption by mocking Florida International safety Jonathan Cyprien to Minnesota. Silva’s argument:
Safeties in Minnesota’s Cover-2 scheme must both be sure tacklers and possess sideline-to-sideline range. Cyprien was a box defender at Florida International, but his stock has risen during the pre-draft process because he stood out in coverage at the Senior Bowl before running in the low 4.5s at his Pro Day. He’d be a sizable upgrade on Jamarca Sanford opposite Harrison Smith.
Make any sense? Maybe. Sanford was recently re-signed but not to a big contract. He’s certainly not making slamdunk-starter money. The plan as we figure it is to have Sanford battle it out in camp with Mistral Raymond, who started quite a bit last year when he wasn’t hurt, and Robert Blanton who was nowhere to be seen for most of the season. Sanford would seem to be the favorite in that particular battle but that says less about him and more about his competition. Raymond is pretty much dogmeat and Blanton is just a total unknown right now. Sanford is sort of the default starter.
So maybe it would make sense to take the safety Cyprien. Like Silva says, he’d be an upgrade. And you’d potentially have an explosive safety duo with him and Harrison Smith. But then you have to consider the other needs on the defense. Defensive tackle and linebacker are both arguably higher priorities than safety and so is cornerback. But who knows. Perhaps in Rick Spielman’s mind there’s a high premium on safeties. The NFL is evolving into more and more of a passing league, with big, fast tight ends becoming more common. So safety is probably a more important position than linebacker especially in the Tampa-2. The question is, with no starting MLB currently on the roster, can you afford to go safety in the first? And would you consider taking two defensive players in the first and letting the receiver thing slide down a round?
Lots to ponder. But Cyprien is definitely intriguing.
One more note from Silva’s mock: He has the Bears taking a linebacker ahead of the Vikings and it’s not Manti Te’o. Silva likes Arthur Brown, who I mentioned in my recent linebacker rundown.