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Cyprien: Worth the wait


JACKSONVILLE – Johnathan Cyprien had no real expectations.

Cyprien, a safety from Florida International University who was considered  one of the faster-rising players of the pre-draft process, said he figured entering the 2013 NFL Draft he might be selected in the first or second round.

Waiting a day?

To Cyprien, that really wasn't a big deal.

"My reaction was excitement, happy," Cyprien said after the Jaguars selected him with the first selection of the second round, the No. 33 selection overall.

"I didn't have my hopes up for the first round. My agent (Drew Rosenhaus) told me there was a possibility the top of the second round and a possibility in the first. I'm just happy to be a Jacksonville Jaguar."

Cyprien had impressed Jaguars coaches and personnel officials during a pre-draft visit, and Cyprien said he was impressed in kind.

"It was great," Cyprien said. "It was exciting. He let me know what he wants to do being the coach for the Jaguars. I told him that I want to be a part of it. He wants me to come in and have high energy. He wants me to love football; things that you can't coach.

"He asked me for those things and I expect to give them to him."

Cyprien, who Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell called a late-bloomer, received just two scholarship offers – from FIU and Western Michigan – but quickly emerged as a productive, reliable player there.

A four-year letterman, he never missed a game in college, starting 45 of 50 games and setting a school-record with 365 tackles. He also defensed 22 passes and recorded 13.5 tackles for loss with seven interceptions and a school-record six forced fumbles.

The NFL Draft Report named him the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, when he also was a first-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection.

Cyprien improved his stock during the Senior Bowl, as Caldwell said Cyprien "not only caught our eye, but a lot of people around the NFL."

"That was the first opportunity where I really had all 32 teams watching me perform," Cyprien said. "It was tremendous because a lot of teams felt I was playing at a good level."

Jaguars Head Coach Bradley and Caldwell each said immediately following the selection that Cyprien fills a significant need on the roster. The team held its recent minicamp without a strong safety, and while Bradley said there will be competition at all positions, Caldwell said the expectation is that Cyprien will start immediately.

"Coming into any program I know there's going to be competition and I just need to go in there and compete," Cyprien said. "Nothing's going to be given to me and I can't wait to compete. That's all I want to do.

"If I come into a starting position, I'll just be very happy about that and I'll embrace that fully."

Cyprien said he has never missed a game on any level of football.

"I take a lot of pride in it," he said of his durability. "I feel like it's great. I don't want to go down under any circumstance. I play through small things and I just stay healthy and able to produce day-in and day-out."

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