With Richard LeCounte playing in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns, after four successful years between the hedges as one of the most electric safeties to play in the red and black, Lewis Cine is one of the most experienced defensive backs returning for Georgia.
Cine has made a name for himself through two seasons with his "hit-stick" mentality at the point of contact when facing a ball carrier. Cine, much like LeCounte, is a physical player in every sense of the word. The ability to come downhill on an opponent separates him from the rest of Georgia's secondary. But what does NFL Draft Bible's Lorenz Leinweber think of the rising junior safety?
"Possessing the size and physical traits in terms of movement skills required to be a high draft pick, Cine could realistically challenge to be the first safety off the board come April."
At 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, he is a "long safety who plays in cover two, single high and man against tight ends." In addition, "Cine is an easy mover in space, transitioning smoothly and possessing very good speed." His physical traits breed confidence that Cine could translate into a single high safety in the NFL.
The athletic ability cannot be questioned about Lewis and will allow him to play in a lot of man-to-man coverage as a box safety. Box safeties and even roaming safties need recovery speed if they get beat deep, which Cine repeatedly shows on tape.
But what really makes Cine stand out in the opinion of SI Dawgs Daily's Brooks Austin is his play as a box safety. Something that Leinwebber points out as well, "Cine shows a willingness to come downhill and does so in a hurry. He is not hesitant, trusting his eyes and pulling the trigger quickly. Length and play strength allow him to take on or slip blocks every once in a while."
There is a lot of good with Cine, and he certainly possesses a lot of upside in the future, but people question his ball skills. In just two years, Cine has not been a box score star as he has lacked in terms of ball production and forcing turnovers, something NFL scouts want to see with a single high safety who is supposed to play like a center fielder in baseball, tracking the ball and coming down with it.
Though it’s not like he doesn’t possess the ability, he proved that with his interception in the G-Day scrimmage.
While Cine's length and play strength allow him to blow up opposing ball carriers, it comes at a trade-off with his pad level often being too high, which leads to missed tackles. LeCounte had a similar problem earlier on in his career but was able to correct it with experience.
His aggressive playstyle can cause him to get manipulated by the quarterback’s eyes. When stressed vertically with multiple routes, he has to be more cautious, guarding deep.
2021 will be a true test to Cine as he will have to take on the mantle of being the leader back deep, much like Richard LeCounte did a year ago.
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