Florida International safety Jonathan Cyprien is working out with the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday, according to NFL reporter Jenna Laine. Cyprien's rise up NFL Draft boards began with a breakout performance at the Senior Bowl, and continued with a solid showing at the 2013 NFL Combine and at FIU pro day earlier in March. He is currently projected to go No. 21 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals in SB Nation's latest mock draft.
The Panthers have the No. 14 overall pick, so if they are serious about Cyprien, they may have to select him higher than many project or hope they can trade down. Then again, Cyprien may be worth the near-top 10 pick. He has routinely earned praise for his strength, quickness and instincts. And while his 4.56 in the 40-yard dash isn't considered elite, it is a better time than the 4.63 posted by Texas' Kenny Vaccaro, SB Nation's current top safety prospect.
The Panthers could use the secondary help after giving up an average passer rating of 91.7 to opposing quarterbacks last season, good for 23rd in the NFL. Cyprien's ball-hawking skills (he had four interceptions and five pass breakups last season) could improve the Panthers' poor 22-11 TD-INT ratio on defense, not to mention the help he would provide as an extra run defender (93 tackles last season).
Since the end of the college football season, Cyprien's star has been one of the fastest rising among all of this year's NFL Draft hopefuls. Don't be surprised if his name is called earlier than expected come Day 1 of the NFL Draft.