Anyone that’s heard of the term “hit sticking” will feel right at home with the arrival of Lewis Cine to the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive backfield.
The former Georgia safety was taken with the No. 32 overall pick of the 2022 NFL draft on Thursday night, after the Vikings engineered a surprise trade with the rival Detroit Lions.
In exchange for the No. 12 and No. 46 picks, the team traded down in the draft for picks No. 32, 34 and 66.
After missing out on the top cornerbacks in the draft, the Vikings decided to go with a safety, which is a high positional need. Harrison Smith, 33, isn’t a spring chicken anymore, and although Camryn Bynum is determined to surpass the legendary quarterback Tom Brady as the greatest football player to ever live, the fact remains that he isn’t a proven starter.
Cine is a capable player of stepping into the lineup and helping the Vikings win right away. He’s a hard-hitting defensive back with underrated coverage skills. Safety, nickel corner, hybrid linebacker, wide corner—Cine can do it all.
Most importantly, he gives the Vikings a safety net for an aging Smith. Heading into the draft, the team was an injury away from having a straight up catastrophe unfold in the defensive backfield,
Now, they’re younger at the position with a potential prospect that can help them for years to come. Cine amassed 144 total tackles, 14 pass deflections and two interceptions during his time with the Bulldogs.
He was also named as the defensive MVP in the team’s national championship victory over the University of Alabama.
The biggest takeaway is the Vikings found a way to get better on the backend of their defense, despite their head-scratcher of a early trade in the draft. We’ll chalk this selection up as a win—for now.