NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock took spent nearly two and a half hours on a conference call recently, discussing the two-month path to the draft.
Among other things, Mayock discussed where the Redskins, the only team without a first-round pick, might turn with the 51st overall pick.
"I’m a big believer [Texas safety Kenny] Vaccaro is going to be [drafted] in the top 20," Mayock said. "I think [Florida safety] Matt Elam is kind of a low one to mid-two [round draft]."
"I think Jonathan Cyprien from Florida International is a guy you ought to be looking really closely at. He had a great Senior Bowl week. I’ve got him as my No. 3 safety."
Cyprien enters the 2013 Scouting Combine with good size (6-0, 209 pounds) and tremendous speed (low 40-yard dash: 4.45 seconds). He will fill out the rest of his measurables before the Combine ends next week.
"I think he’s a guy that’s going to be around somewhere in the middle to end of the second round," Mayock predicted. "I think he could start immediately for the Washington Redskins and he makes a ton of sense."
Cyprien is considered capable of playing both safety positions at the NFL level, and supplements his natural talent with a chippy, talkative edge.
He started all four years at Florida International and became the school's all-time leading tackler in FIU history.
He fits the mold as a playmaker, tallying 93 tackles last year, including 3.5 for a loss, five pass breakups and four interceptions with one forced fumble. For his consistent play, he was named first team All-Sun Belt Conference.
If the Redskins pass on Cyprien, Vaccaro and Elam, Mayock projects a dropoff in talent with his next group of safeties.
"There is a little bit of a drop off, and it depends on what kind of player you like," he said. "[Eric Reid, Zeeke Motta, Phillip Thomas, J.J. Wilcox—they’re all kind of third-round picks."
Check back to Redskins.com for continuing coverage throughout the week of the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine.