Some have speculated that second-round pick Johnathan Cyprien may end up being the best defensive player for the Jaguars during his rookie season in 2013, and the safety got out to a strong start during his first ever practice with the team on Friday. Mark Long of the Associated Press described Cyprien as "a man among boys" on Friday, as the Jaguars coaches took the rookies through basic drills on a rainy afternoon.
"That's one guy that really showed up in my eyes," Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said of Cyprien. "Not only is he playing but we're watching if they can handle the tempo of practice and the style that we're asking, but he did a great job leading too. Some of the balls that he had to catch he caught on overthrows and stuff. I was very pleased with his start."
All but assured a starting spot in the secondary during the 2013 season, Cyprien is expected to fill the void left by Dawan Landry, after the Jaguars released the veteran safety earlier in the offseason. However, in Bradley's defense, Cyprien will likely play in a shallow role in the secondary, similar to the one performed by strong safety Kam Chancellor of the Seattle Seahawks.
On Friday, Cyprien was slotted in that role, but it looked a little different than what Jaguars fans can expect from the team come August and September.
"We just put a defense in today that allows both guys to be down so it was one defense per base and one defense in nickel and one pressure," Bradley said. "It was really, really basic what we did just to teach our base core principles. We felt like it'd give him an opportunity to learn the middle field principles, but we really think about him as being more of a down guy."
Cyprien, the No. 33 overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, finished his senior season with four interceptions, 93 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble in the Florida International secondary.