From now until the 2022 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I’ll be profiling a safety prospect for the National Champion Georgia Bulldogs that operated as the traffic cop on the backend of the Dawgs defense.
#16 Lewis Cine, S, Georgia (Jr.) – 6022, 199 lbs.
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Lewis Cine||6022/199||9 1/2″||32 1/4”||78″|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Tall, long, and rangy defensive back
— Has experience playing in the slot and in the box to go with lining up at strong safety, some exposure to playing on the boundary with backs/TE split out wide
— Has the open field speed and burst to close ground quickly when coming downhill
— Seeks and destroys ballcarriers on contact as a tackler looking to run through bodies as a violent striker
— Looks to be a hammer on a nail in terms of stopping runners in their tracks with powerful hits to knock them backward
— Plays with a sense of urgency in run support, minimizing the time he diagnoses the play to the time he arrives at the ball
— Does a good job reacting to the pass in front of him when in zone coverage
— Has the length and feistiness the jar the ball out at the catch point
— Has the ability to run with backs and TEs in man coverage
— Traffic cop over the middle of the field that makes receivers think twice about making catches with him coming
— Has a history of playing on special teams units in college and the skill set to thrive there
— Did a good job helping the rest of the defensive get in correct alignments during his final season
— Has a fairly slender frame that could add additional bulk for the style he plays
— Isn’t the most fluid mover when it comes to his hip flip or backpedal in coverage
— Receivers can stack him vertically and get past him, causing him to lose track of the ball when he has to play with his back to the ball
— Can arrive a tad early at times to the catch point which could lead to more penalties
— Can be a tad slow to read receiver breaks with his eyes thus leading to separation and loss of leverage
— Likes to come in full-speed as a tackler, causing him to overrun plays at times when he doesn’t break down
— Will wrap up high on occasion leading to extra yards after initial contact due to not taking out motors
— Tendency to go for the light up shot will get him trouble if he doesn’t improve his strike zone consistently (Florida 2020)
— Junior prospect from Cedar Hill, TX
— Was born in Haiti and emigrated to the United States at age four
— Selected to play in the 2019 Under Armour All-America Game
— Consensus four-star prospect and the #3 Safety in his recruiting class
— Transferred to Trinity Christian HS after playing his first three seasons at Everett High School in Massachusetts
— Played in all 14 games, starting in the last two as a true freshman and finished the season with 19 total tackles (14 solo), 0.5 TFLs, two PBUs and an INT
— Started in defensive backfield in all 10 games his sophomore year and compiled 52 total tackles (38 solo), one TFL, and three PBUs
— Led the Bulldogs in tackles with 73 total (43 solo) as a junior along with two TFLs, nine PBUs, and an INT
— AP All-SEC 1st Team (2021), Coaches’ All-SEC 2nd Team (2021), AP All-American Third Team (2021) 2022 CFP National Champion
— Psychology major
The Georgia Bulldogs benefited from having a wealth of talent on the defensive side of the ball that led to their dominance in-route to a CFP National Championship this season. While several names have garnered the headlines during the college football season as well as during the pre-draft process, it was S Lewis Cine who actually led the Dawgs in total stops in 2021. The junior safety became an enforcer on the backend for the vaunted defense due to his ability to come up and stick ballcarriers with violent collisions. Many may remember this hit back from 2020 against Florida on TE Kyle Pitts that wound up getting Cine ejected due to the nature of the collision over the middle.
This was an example of Cine not playing within the strike zone that the new rules in football enforce to limit big hits by defenders on defenseless receivers who can’t protect themselves. Cine is a player that loves to come in seeking a full-speed collision like the play shown above. This can not only lead to him picking up penalties, but also overrunning plays due to over pursuit. He also can be too aggressive in terms of wrapping up ballcarriers high instead of going low and taking out motors with good form and technique. Here against Alabama, we watch #4 Brian Robinson Jr. carry Cine for extra yardage when Cine wraps him up by the shoulders but fails to take him to the ground.
Still, many teams search for that player who can be that traffic cop over the middle of the field, making receivers think twice about coming over his way to make a catch. Cine is a physical tackler that is quick to trigger on the ball once he diagnoses the play, showing off his closing speed and burst to come downhill and drill ballcarriers. Check out this play from the same game where Cine flies in from the secondary to stop Robinson in his tracks as he attempts to get the corner, stopping his forward momentum and gets him to the ground to set up third-and-short.
Cine shocked a lot of people at the NFL Combine when he ran a 4.37 40. However, you see that speed come out in his ability to come down from the deep safety spot and close ground quickly in run support. Here is a perfect example against the Crimson Tide where Cine flies in from the backend of the defense and decleats the runner along the left sideline, dropping him to the turf with a violent hit.
Not only is Cine great at coming downhill, but he also shows great pursuit sideline-to-sideline when asked to play in the box as a sub package linebacker or nickel defender. Check out the range Cine shows on this chase down tackle against Alabama, diagnosing the screen pass and flies across the field to drop #18 Slade Bolden shortly after he catches the pass behind the LOS for a loss.
Many may think that Cine may struggle to bring down bigger, stronger runners at the next level given his slender 6’2, 1/4”, 199lb frame. However, he is a quality tackler that has the stopping power to bring the best runners down to the ground. Don’t believe me? Check out this play from last season where Cine tracks down #22 Najee Harris along the sideline from the deep safety spot and wraps him up and rips him down to the ground.
While he wasn’t utilized often as a blitzer for Georgia due to the talent they had at the linebacker position, Cine proved to be a quality player coming off the edge when asked to. Not only does he provide a pass rush on the QB or make plays in the backfield, but he also has the instincts to bat down passes like we see on this key pass deflection against #9 Bryce Young in the red zone to prevent the potential score.
While Cine doesn’t have phenomenal range in coverage, he has shown to be a competent defender when asked to run with backs and tight ends in man coverage as well as be an instinctual defender who can break on the ball well when tasked with zone coverage drops. Check out this sequence of plays with Cine both playing at safety and in the slot and his ability to run and contest passes as well as some nice run stops thrown in as well.
Still, Cine isn’t the most fluid mover when it comes to turning and running with receivers in man coverage. His movement skills in a backpedal as well when trying to flip his hips are segmented and lack fluidity that you prefer to see in skilled coverage defenders at the NFL level. Here is one example against the Crimson Tide where Cine is tasked with covering the TE coming out on the route and gets his hand on him but has poor leverage and hip bend as the receiver shocks him back. Luckily for Cine, the receiver slips and falls on the break, leading to an overthrow on the pass attempt.
Cine definitely is at his best when he is asked to play the ball in front of him rather than with his back to the ball. When asked to play deep safety and keep a lid on it, he can struggle with his transition as well as locating the football and making a play on the ball in the air. Here is a play from the matchup with Alabama last season where Cine allows #8 John Metchie III to stack him on the right sideline as the CB comes on the blitz, being slow to turn and run with Metchie who gets on top of him and reels in the deep ball for the long TD catch.
Overall, Lewis Cine is a talented defender that knows his role and plays it well as an enforcer in the secondary. He has no fear when asked to play in run support or come over the middle and separate ball from man, looking to be the hammer on the nail and stick ballcarriers in a way to make them think twice before coming his way again. He also has shown some positional versatility, having played deep safety, in the nickel, as well as on the outside on occasion with backs and TEs out wide. He is a capable zone coverage defender but covering receivers on vertical patterns will be his weak spot in coverage.
When thinking of a potential pro comparison for Cine, I tried to find a player with a similar frame and play style and fell on former Jets and Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes. Rhodes was drafted in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft as a long (6’2, 213lb) defender that played free safety by designation, but utilized often around the LOS as an enforcer, being a physical presence against the run, as a blitzer, and also in pass coverage. While Rhodes may be more thickly built than Cine hand have more proven ball production, they share that long, lanky frame as well as the physical play style to make plays all over the football field.
It is encouraging to see Cine continue to grow as a defender each season on campus, suggesting his best football may be ahead of him when given more responsibilities than what he had in Athens. However, he will have to continue to improve in coverage as well as a more consistent tackler to realize that potential of being a high-caliber strong safety in the league. Given the fact that S Terrell Edmunds is scheduled to hit free agency this offseason, Cine cold factor in as a potential replacement depending on if Edmunds is retained or if Pittsburgh decides to sign another starter on the open market. Pairing Cine with Minkah Fitzpatrick would create a dynamic, physical safety tandem for years to come.
Projection: Day Two
Depot Draft Grade: 8.1 – Future Quality Starter (2nd Round)
Games Watched vs Alabama (2021), vs Florida (2021), at Alabama (2020)