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Lewis Cine: Versatile Georgia Safety Joins the Purple


    Jimmy Murphy / April 29th, 2022 /

The Debut

April 28th, 2022 marked the debut draft for the new Minnesota Vikings regime and General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. The 2022 draftee pool lacking a consensus #1 overall pick along with the presence of an arguably underwhelming quarterback class manifested in the evening possessing an aura of unpredictability. 

The Vikings front office watched as their top corner prospects in “Sauce” Gardner and Derek Stingley Jr. were each taken successively within the first 5 picks and furthermore taken at a value that would deem too high for the Minnesota front office to attempt to trade up for. With the team missing out on their top corner prospects along with seeing the plethora of talent still available, this prompted Adofo-Mensah to get on the War Room line with Detriot Lions GM Brad Holmes and eventually trade back from pick 12 to pick 32. 

With the 32nd overall pick and the first pick of the Kwesi Adofo-Mensah era, the team landed on Georgia Bulldog safety Lewis Cine, making Cine one of 5 Georgia Bulldog defenders taken on day 1. While fans may question the value of the picks gained by the Viking's front office in the trade with Detroit, there is no objecting to the fact that Lewis Cine being taken at pick 32, constitutes nothing less than a high-value steal for Minnesota. So who is Lewis Cine and how does the new first-round selection fit into the team’s scheme for this upcoming season?

Cedar Hill Prospect to Athens Star

Reigning from Trinity Christian School in Cedar Hill, TX, Lewis Cine was one of the premier defensive back recruits in the country upon arriving to the Georgia Bulldogs. As a true freshman, Cine saw snaps in all 14 games eventually making his way into the starting role towards to conclusion of the season. As a sophomore, Cine emerged as the Bulldog's full-time starter. As a junior, Cine officially established himself as a household name on the loaded Georgia defense. Cine was named 1st Team All-SEC, a semi-finalist for the coveted Jim Thorpe award, and the 2022 National Championship game Defensive MVP. Cine’s elite closing speed and brute physicality prime him to immediately contribute to the Viking’s already solid secondary featuring All-Pro Harrison Smith and budding 2nd-year star Cameron Bynum.

The Fit 

It is expected that there will be a significant amount of carryover from the Denver 3-4 scheme with new Defensive Coordinator Ed Donatell. This scheme emphasizes a high frequency of base-down Cover 3 and 3rd down Cover 1 with front 7 pressure. The schematics of an emphasis for Cover 3 on base-downs will either leave Lewis Cine or Harrison Smith as the single-high safety in the secondary, meaning that one of the two will roll down into the box to play the curl flat zone. This base down scheme consisting of constant safety movement and rotation will mean that between Cine and Smith, there is always going to be a physical Swiss Army knife safety rolled down towards the box. This will allow Cine to be put in positions to maximize his versatility, as he not only will be able to utilize his strong instinctual coverage skills but will also allow him to utilize his violent physicality to be a force in run support when rolled down into the box. The instances in which Cover 1 blitzes are called upon on, this will again allow Cine to maximize his versatility. If he is the single deep safety in Cover 1, his elite closing speed will allow him to cover ground quickly and provide a strong presence over the top to deter a frequency of deep balls completed. If he is rolled down into the box, his physicality will allow him to be able to provide solid coverage on big-skill positions and his off-the-charts explosiveness will also be able to put him in positions for schemed DB blitzes. 

Final Verdict

The Minnesota Vikings and the front office are eager to compete in 2022 and there is no better way to do that than by addressing a present hole on the side of the ball that put on a poor display this previous season. Lewis Cine is a violent heat-seeking missile with elite closing speed and a ruthless competitive edge. His competition in the SEC in conjunction with Georgia meant that he was always competing with and against other future NFL talent. Cine will be able to be paired and mentored by an All-Pro safety and then be schemed to maximize his elite versatility, ultimately setting up the University of Georgia product to wreak havoc on this league for decades to come.