Georgia safety Lewis Cine may be most famous for a ferocious hit on Florida phenom Kyle Pitts, but he’s about to earn recognition as a genuine star in the 2022 NFL Draft class. A tough-tackling, hard-hitting, combative safety with insane athletic ability, Cine’s scouting report is littered with the attributes that will ensure he’s an early-round pick next April.
Lewis Cine NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Safety
- School: Georgia
- Current Year: Junior
- Height: 6’1″
- Weight: 200 pounds
Lewis Cine Scouting Report
As with the running back position, safety is often perceived as an undervalued position in the NFL. However, when you consider what the modern safety is asked to do, there are less difficult positions to play. Multiple alignments, multiple assignments, and the ability to impact the game in numerous ways require an impressively diverse skill set.
No one in the 2022 NFL Draft class achieves that as well as Kyle Hamilton. Yet, Cine’s scouting report reveals that he too has many of the attributes required to play the game at an NFL level.
Let’s begin the Georgia safety’s scouting report with his physical appearance. At 6’1″, Cine has the requisite size for the position. Furthermore, he appears to possess impressive functional length. It’s no good being a tall safety if you have shorter arms that can’t impact the passing game. Cine ticks the boxes here. Additionally, he’s added 15 pounds between his sophomore and junior seasons.
That is huge for a player whose physicality is the calling card of his game. Cine is a violent downhill hitter who puts his entire being behind every tackle. His hits shook multiple players at 185 pounds, so at 200 pounds, there may not be a man who can withstand his impact.
More than just a physical, hard-hitting threat
As you can imagine from a physical, violent, safety, Cine excels in the ground game. Much like on a night out on the town, you don’t want to meet him in the alley. It’s unlikely to end well for the offense when he explodes through the gap to a ball carrier.
However, he’s more than just a physical threat in the run game. Cine shows excellent ability to diagnose plays against the run, reading the offense, and putting himself in a position to succeed. “Diagnose and destroy” should be the Georgia safety’s motto.
In coverage, Cine demonstrates incredible click-and-close ability. He covers the ground with insane athletic ability, arriving on the scene to make a play on the ball or man. Cine changes direction well, allowing him to stay close to his opponent in man coverage. Furthermore, he has the long speed to stay with some of the fastest wide receivers in college football.
Finally, and notably from an NFL Draft perspective, Cine displays leadership and versatility. The Georgia safety is one of the most experienced players in their secondary this season. He can often be seen directing his teammates on the field. From a versatility standpoint, he has aligned as both a single-high and split-field safety. Cine has also been used as a cornerback in the slot and tasked with blitzing off the edge occasionally.
Areas for improvement
With the start of Cine’s scouting report, you could be forgiven for thinking he’s the perfect NFL Draft prospect. However, there is no such thing. Like any player coming out of college, there are areas for improvement for the Georgia safety.
Cine does his best work with the ball in front of him. When the ball is behind him in coverage, however, he can be guilty of failing to get his head around. As a result, he is unaware of where the ball is, and therefore, unable to make a play.
Ball tracking is the most significant area that he needs to improve through his junior season.
While he diagnoses and scrapes well in the run game, improvements are to be made in coverage. He doesn’t routinely do a good job of navigating traffic in coverage. As a result, he can be late to make a play in the passing game.
Lewis Cine Player Profile
Cine began his path to the 2022 NFL Draft as a three-year player for Everett High School in Massachusetts. While he flashed potential early on in his high school career, his standing skyrocketed during a junior season where he amassed 65 tackles, 2 interceptions, and exuded special-teams ability with 2 blocked kicks.
Cine’s performances saw him named the 2017 Massachusetts Defensive Player of the Year. Furthermore, he began to attract significant attention from college football programs, most notably, in-state Boston College. However, his recruitment exploded with the announcement of a transfer to a Texas-based high school, Trinity Christian.
The additional exposure at a school in the heartland of high school football had an immediate impact. With Texas and Texas A&M clamoring for his signature, other offers came from SEC programs like Alabama and Florida. The four-star, third-ranked safety in the 2019 class held over 35 offers through the early part of his senior season.
Yet, he remained unsigned through the season. Cine helped lead Trinity Christian to a second consecutive state title, racking up 85 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles. Then, almost a year after their initial offer, he committed to Georgia.
“I committed because I felt comfortable there,” the new Georgia safety told reporters before emphasizing that it wasn’t just a football decision. “I always want the best of both worlds, which is the football and educational aspect they provide.”
Cine’s career at Georgia
While Georgia ticked his recruiting boxes, the ability to play in the SEC was also a significant factor behind turning his back on schools like Texas, Ohio State, and Michigan.
“I feel like the SEC plays to my strength a lot. I can go all-out physical. One thing about the SEC is every game is a big-time game, regardless of who is playing. And for me, whether it is a big-time game or not, I show up regardless.”
While he would leave a physical mark on the SEC, Cine flashed early coverage ability as a true freshman. The Georgia safety logged a first career interception against Arkansas State, one of 14 appearances in 2019. He earned the opportunity to start in the season’s final two games, impressing with 6 tackles against LSU and Baylor.
Despite the disruption of the 2020 season, Cine carried that momentum into his sophomore season. In the season opener, he logged another 6 tackles while accounting for a QB pressure. A career-high 12 tackles against South Carolina contributed to 49 total tackles on the year, good enough for second on the team.
Sophomore season tainted by criticism following Florida and Tennessee tackles
Nevertheless, games against Tennessee and Florida defined his sophomore campaign. Both contained violent, thumping tackles that rocked the opponent to their very core. The hit on Pitts in the Florida game saw the Georgia safety ejected for targeting. Although it could be argued that it was unfortunate timing — with Cine leading with his shoulder before the clash of heads — he was widely vilified.
Despite this, Cine’s physicality as a tackler is one of the attributes that makes him an alluring safety in the 2022 NFL Draft class. The Georgia safety has gotten off to a phenomenal start to his junior campaign, with a team-leading 9 tackles in the win over Clemson. Furthermore, he added another interception to his résumé against UAB.
When I wrote my initial observation on the class in May, Cine was in my top 10 as the seventh-ranked safety in the 2022 NFL Draft class. However, the Georgia safety has the potential to be one of the very best in the class. While a Day 2 pick is most likely due to the perceived value of the position, there is a chance Cine could force his way into the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.