MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 31: Lewis Cine #16 of the Georgia Bulldogs tackled Hassan Haskins #25 of the Michigan Wolverines in the Capital One Orange Bowl for the College Football Playoff semifinal game at Hard Rock Stadium on December 31, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

By Dylan MacKinnon

Lewis Cine has had quite the journey to this moment. He was born in Haiti. Then he was raised in Florida. He learned how to play Football In Boston. Then he became a top recruit in the nation in Texas. And he went on to win a National Championship in Georgia. But could Philly be the next step in his football journey?

The Eagles have a clear need at safety.; We have already looked at names like Jaquan Brisker, Kyle Hamilton, and Daxton Hill. With the draft just a day away, let’s take a look at Lewis Cine, the Safety from Georgia.

What Philly Loves in a Safety

Eagles fans love a hard-hitting safety. They want a guy who is going to take heads off like Brian Dawkins used to. That is certainly what they would get with Lewis Cine. Cine has a reputation for his hits. A reputation that will sometimes get him in trouble, like when he was ejected for a hit on Kyle Pitts. But more often than not, his aggressive playstyle and knack for hard hits are to the team’s benefit. He led Georgia in tackles this past year. On a team that had Jordan Davis, Travon Walker, Devonte Wyatt, and Nakobe Dean, a safety was most often involved in making the play on the ball.

“Football is supposed to be played fast, supposed to be played physical. That’s how it’s always been, and I’ve never shied away from contact or showing the world how aggressive I am when playing the sport. I’ve always played like that, from Pop Warner to high school and even now.”- Lewis Cine

Lewis Cine flies around the field. He ran a 4.39 at the Combine, and that is not an aberration. The tape matches the Combine performance. Part of the reason he gets so many tackles is how quickly he gets to the ball carrier. But not only is he fast of foot, but he reacts quickly. He has great instincts vs the run, usually taking great angles to cut off and wrap up the ball carrier.

Cine is more than just a big hitter though. He has great field vision to quickly diagnose plays. In his final year at Georgia he had 9 pass deflections. He also had a single interception. That number could have been higher, but his hands let him down on a few occasions. But beyond his suspect hands, he has legit ball skills. There’s no reason to think his hands improve, but there is reason to think he will keep racking up pass deflections ion the NFL.

“Lewis is a special talent. He has extremely good speed, he has extremely good toughness, has good ball skills, good size. When you design a safety, he’s got all the qualities, and he’s really been a student of the game.”- Kirby Smart

Cine played 80% of the defensive snaps for Georgia rarely coming off the field.

“We’re trying to make this a player-led team and Lewis is an example of a guy that is owning that…When you have a player-led team like that, guys that will be vocal and stand up and say, ‘hey, this is what matters and let’s get it done,’ I think you can accomplish a lot more.”- Defensive Coordinator Dan Lanning

In his last year at Georgia, he made the Ap All-SEC team, and the Coaches All SEC Second Team. He was also a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the Nation’s top defensive back. When Georgia beat Alabama in the National Championship, Cine was named the defensive MVP on the back of his 7 tackles, including one for a loss.

Areas of Concern

Lewis Cine has the potential to be elite vs the run. But his pass coverage is a work in progress. He has good field vison in zone coverage, but when asked to play man coverage he had issues. Cine was often late to react to certain moves. He has the speed to recover, but ideally he would need to recover a lot less. Other times he has been caught being too soft in coverage vs underneath passes. In those situations he has often then punished the WR or TE with a big hit, but he still allowed the reception.

Against bigger Tight Ends there is a serious size disadvantage with him having a lean frame. When tackling he can produce power well beyond his frame. But in press overage it will sometimes be him getting over powered. Hopefully he can add more muscle to his frame. Otherwise he could have issues covering Tight Ends at this level.

Additionally his aggressiveness gets him into trouble. . Cine is a very good player, but he can’t help his team if he isn’t on the field. He has also missed tackles because he was too keen to hit someone hard. And he committed too many penalties. The big hits are great. But he would be better off picking his places, and sometimes settling for a a normal wrap up tackle.

A Reason to Compete

Motivation will not be an issue for Lewis Cine. He has all the motivation he needs, and it comes from two people. His young daughter, and his mother Beatrice, and his 4-year old daughter Bella.

“When things get hard, I push myself, because I know the things my mom has been through, the things she’s done for me and she never complains. She just keeps pushing through. And my daughter, I’m going to go through a brick wall for her.”-Lewis Cine to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cine’s mother gave birth to him in Haiti when she was only 16. It is why Cine wears the number 16. Throughout much of his young career he dedicated everything he did to her. His mother helped him get to America when he was still young. She was unable to follow though. Currently she resides in Chile, and has yet to see Cine play in person. But still takes the opportunity to call her after good games to tell her how he “balled out.”

As for his daughter, he had her before he ever stepped foot on the field for Georgia. She stayed home in Texas with his grandmother while he was in College. Cine carries the pressure to succeed for them. But he does not see pressure as a bad thing. Whether it is the pressure to dop right by his family, or the pressure he felt to play well at Georgia, he sees it a s a good thing.

“A lot of people say pressure is a bad thing, I see pressure as a good thing. It means things are expected of you. So I will deliver in those scenarios, and I’m prepared to deliver.”

What Draft Experts Say

Dane Brugler- The Athletic 

“With his range, explosiveness and appetite for contact, Cine is a do-everything safety and led a talent-rich Georgia defense in both tackles and passes defended in 2021. Although he has room to tidy up his tackling technique, he is at his best as a physical run defender, running the alley like a freight train and tuning up his target. Overall, Cine lacks ideal size by NFL standards and has marginal ball skills, but he is an enforcer vs. the run with the athleticism in coverage to make plays. He is an ascending talent with NFL starting skills, similar to Xavier McKinney as a prospect.”

Daniel Jeremiah

“Cine is a tough, physical safety who plays much bigger than his size (6-2, 199). He spent a lot time aligned in the deep half of the field versus the pass. Cine has good instincts and range to put himself in position to make plays, but he struggles to catch the ball. He was inconsistent in man coverage against tight ends. He gives up separation out of the break, but he has the ability to recover and locate the ball in the air. Cine is at his best against the run. He takes excellent angles to the ball and explodes to the alley for big hits. He brought a lot of energy to the Georgia defense. Cine is still developing in coverage, but I love his toughness and energy.”

Conclusion

There is a lot to like about Lewis Cine. He hits hard, is great vs the run, and you know you are getting someone who will play with a lot of passion. But his pass coverage, especially in man coverage, needs to improve. Even with that said he would be a quality edition to this team. All his other skills should allow any team who takes him to be able to hide him from man coverage, and let him do what he does best. A first round pick may be a reach, but he is a name to watch in the 2nd round if he falls.