Lewis Cine

S Lewis Cine On Vikings’ Roster Bubble?

Lewis Cine has two years remaining on his rookie contract, but this summer could prove to be a pivotal point in his young NFL career. The Vikings safety is buried on the depth chart ahead of next month’s training camp.

Minnesota pulled off a first-round swap with Detroit during the first round of the 2022 draft. Cine was selected with the No. 32 pick, and he faced high expectations after enjoying a successful tenure at Georgia. Ahead of his rookie season, however, it was clear he faced a steep path to a starting workload. Cine’s debut campaign was cut short by a leg fracture which required two surgeries.

The 2023 season saw the 24-year-old log only seven games and eight defensive snaps, and an uptick in usage does not appear likely at this point. As ESPN’s Kevin Seifert notes, Cine found himself behind not only starters Harrison Smith and Camryn Bynumbut also backups Theo Jackson and Jay Ward on the depth chart this spring. Keeping in mind Josh Metellus‘ ability to wear many hats in the secondary, Cine faces plenty of competition for a roster spot. That is especially true given the team’s other moves in the secondary.

Minnesota signed Shaquill Griffin in free agency before adding Khyree Jackson in the fourth round of the draft. Those new cornerbacks will take up roster spots in addition to the aforementioned safeties, something which could leave Cine on the outside looking in during cutdowns. Training camp and the preseason will no doubt play a large role in how the team evaluates him.

As a former first-round pick, Cine’s base salaries for 2024 ($1.75MM) and ’25 ($2.27MM) are fully guaranteed. That could provide incentive for the Vikings to keep him in the fold, and a surprisingly involved and productive 2024 campaign could even give Minnesota reason to consider picking up his fifth-year option. Doing so would tie him to the team through 2026, but quite a bit would need to change over the coming weeks for Cine to receive any sustained looks on defense in the fall. His performances during camp will be worth monitoring.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/4/22

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Minnesota Vikings

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Designated for return from IR: WR Calvin Austin

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Cine has now undergone two surgeries in London to repair his leg fracture. The first-round pick underwent a preparatory procedure before his Tuesday operation to repair the compound fracture he sustained. The Georgia product will stay in England for the time being, with Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press noting (via Twitter) doctors want to ensure no infections develop. Cine could travel back to Minnesota as soon as this weekend.

Following Latavius Murray off the Saints’ practice squad this week, Wilson did not see any action for the team this season. The former multiyear Vikings starter signed a one-year, $2.75MM Eagles deal in 2021, but Philadelphia bailed on that contract during the season. Wilson, 28, finished last season with the Texans. In his lone full season as a Vikings starter (2020), Wilson made 122 tackles, registered three sacks and intercepted three passes.

Addison signed with the Texans shortly after the draft, joining fellow ex-Bills edge rusher Jerry Hughes in joining the rebuilding team on a two-year deal. The Texans placed Addison on IR with a groin injury; he is eligible to be activated to the 53-man roster this week. Teams can make eight activations from their injured lists — be it IR, PUP or NFI — this season.

Vikings S Lewis Cine To Undergo Leg Surgery

The Vikings’ trip to London resulted in a win, but also a major injury to a key young member of their secondary. Rookie safety Lewis Cine was carted off the field with a fractured left leg, and will undergo surgery before returning to Minnesota, reports ESPN’s Kevin Seifert

Cine suffered the injury during a punt return in the first quarter of today’s game against the Saints. An air cast was fitted, demonstrating the severity of the play. The news marks a major blow for the 22-year-old, who had played all-but exclusively on special teams to begin his NFL career.

The Georgia product was the final pick of the first round of April’s draft, after Minnesota traded back with the Lions. One of several highly acclaimed members of the Bulldogs’ title-winning defense, he took a step forward with each of his three seasons in college. Best known for his physicality, Cine carries high expectations for the long-term, but attention will now turn to his recovery.

“Very tough moment for our team,” head coach Kevin O’Connell said after the game. “[Cine is] obviously a guy that, from Day 1, has been a personal favorite of mine and does everything we’ve asked. He was continuing to progress in his rookie year and really had a dynamic role for us on special teams.”

With Cine sidelined, the Vikings will continue to use 2021 fourth-rounder Camryn Bynum as a starter at safety alongside Harrison Smith. The injury could open up more playing time for Josh Metellus, who has primarily played on special teams since being drafted in 2020.

Latest On Vikings Rookies Lewis Cine, Andrew Booth

The Vikings used their top two selections in this year’s draft to bolster their secondary, though the prospects they landed may not be seeing major snaps right away. According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, neither safety Lewis Cine nor cornerback Andrew Booth are likely to play starting roles to begin the season. 

Cine went No. 32 overall, the slot Minnesota took over as a result of their swap with the Lions which allowed Detroit to move up to the 12th position. The fifth and final member of Georgia’s elite defense to hear their name called on Day 1, Cine was a key contributor on the backend for the Bulldogs throughout his three-year college career.

Taking a step forward with each successive campaign, the six-foot-one, 200-pounder totaled 73 tackles last season, adding an interception and nine pass breakups. Known more for his physicality than his range or ball skills (dropping him below the likes of Kyle Hamilton and Daxton Hill in the position’s draft rankings), Cine has been competing with 2021 fourth-rounder Camryn Bynum for a first-team role. It appears the latter will get the nod to partner with Harrison Smith at least to start the season.

Booth was also selected in the wake of a trade, but in his case, the Vikings moved up to secure him. Hernia surgery may have hurt his draft stock, as he was considered a borderline first-rounder, but the Clemson product is healthy in time for Week 1. He registered 37 tackles (including three for a loss), along with five passes defensed in his final year with the Tigers.

He also ranked tied for second in the ACC with three interceptions, showcasing his ball skills which, combined with his athletic profile, give him a high upside. Instead of Booth, though, the Vikings are poised to use 2020 third-rounder Cameron Dantzler (who almost found himself being traded last offseason) as a bookend to Patrick Peterson on the perimeter.

The Vikings’ pass defense ranked 28th last season, allowing 253 yards per game through the air. While that makes their commitments to Cine and Booth understandable, familiar faces will prevent them from seeing full-time duty to start their respective careers.

NFC North Notes: Lions, Bears, OTAs, Rookies, Packers, Vikings

The Lions recently detailed a number of updates to their front office. Included among them is new titles being given to members of both the player personnel and football operations departments.

Lance Newmark is now the team’s senior director of player personnel, a slightly different job title than the one he had held since 2017 as the head of that department. The veteran executive has spent all but two of his 26 years in the NFL with the Lions, and was a candidate for Detroit’s GM position, which ultimately went to Brad Holmes. He was also linked to the GM job with the Jets prior to that.

Another notable change is the promotion of Mike Disner to chief operating officer. He had previously served as the team’s VP of football and business administration, playing a key role across a number of departments in the organization. He has spent the past three years in Detroit, having been hired as the replacement for Matt Harriss after a stint in Arizona.

Here are a few other notes from around the NFC North:

  • The Bears forfeited one of their OTA practices earlier this month, as detailed by Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune (subscription required). The team held May practices which involved live contact, something prohibited by the CBA. Wiederer reports that the Bears were “requested to alter their practice activity,” but because the staff now led by Matt Eberflus didn’t do so, the team became subject to that minor penalty.
  • The Packers took not one, but two, former Georgia defenders in the first round of the draft in April. Their top selection, linebacker Quay Walker, has immediately seen practice time alongside starter De’Vondre Campbell. As noted by Rob Demovsky in an ESPN breakdown of first-rounders, Walker’s significant presence in both base and sub packages suggests he could start immediately.
  • In that same piece, Demovsky’s colleague Kevin Seifert writes that another former Bulldog, safety Lewis Cine, is pushing for a spot with the Vikings’ first-team defense. The No. 32 pick is in competition with Camryn Bynum for a starting role, but his ascension to that spot “appears inevitable” after his showing this spring.

Vikings Sign First-Round S Lewis Cine

The closeout pick on the Georgia defense’s banner night, Lewis Cine signed his rookie contract Wednesday. The Vikings have their first-round safety signed to his four-year pact.

Cine’s rookie contract, which can run through 2026 via the fifth-year option, is fully guaranteed, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. It is worth $11.5MM.

Georgia’s dominant defense produced five first-round picks — Travon Walker, Jordan Davis, Quay Walker, Devonte Wyatt and Cine — and had representation on all three levels. Cine was the only Bulldogs secondary cog selected in Round 1, and it came after the Vikings traded back 20 spots to allow the Lions to move up for Jameson Williams. Minnesota acquired the Nos. 32 and 34 overall picks from its division rival, before trading down from No. 34 to enable the Packers to grab wideout Christian Watson to start the draft’s Friday session. The Vikings picked up two Packers second-rounders to do that, and new GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah used that ammo to move up in Round 2 for Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth.

ESPN.com’s No. 41 overall prospect, Cine established new career-high marks in tackles (73) and passes defensed (nine) as a junior to both help the Bulldogs to a 14-1 national championship-winning season and move himself toward the first-round radar. Cine earned second-team All-SEC acclaim last season and became the Vikings’ first Round 1 safety pick since Harrison Smith 10 years ago. Cine figures to team with Smith in Minnesota’s starting lineup soon.

Draft Notes: Remaining QBs, Jets, Vikings, Burks, Johnson

One of the main storylines from last night’s first round was the fact that only one quarterback came off the board. The Steelers have their preferred choice in Kenny Pickett, but the other top options likely won’t have to wait long to hear their names called.

Jeff Howe of the Athletic reports (via Twitter) that “several teams” are trying to move up in the second round. As a result, there is “anticipation that a QB run could be on the way”. A number of teams could be interested in adding the likes of Malik Willis, Sam Howell, Desmond Ridder and Matt Corral as intriguing developmental options.

On that point, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer names the Titans, Falcons, Seahawks and Commanders as teams to watch for. He reports that “Ridder’s name has been consistently connected to Tennessee”, who now holds the 35th overall pick. The other teams have done significant work on signal-callers as well. Perhaps eyeing a passer, the Seahawks have made “exploratory calls” about moving up tonight, per CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson (Twitter link).

Here are some other notes looking back on last night:

  • The Jets, as it has been reported, were willing to part with the No. 10 pick for Deebo Samuel. They almost made a different deal with that selection, though, as detailed by ESPN’s Rich Cimini (on Twitter). New York wanted to swap with Seattle for No. 9 to avoid a team leapfrogging them to select Garrett Wilson. Both teams were able to successfully stand pat, ultimately getting Charles Cross and Wilson, respectively.
  • Not long after the top-10 was complete, the Vikings ceded the 12th overall pick to the Lions. With their second first-rounder, Detroit selected Jameson Williams, who may have been the pick at that spot had Minnesota kept it. Breer reports that the Alabama receiver “was very much in play ” for the Vikings, who added Lewis Cine and two Day 2 picks as a result of the deal.
  • Another of the top receivers to be taken last night was Treylon Burks, whom the Titans selected as a replacement for A.J. BrownWhen speaking to Pat McAfee, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said the Arkansas alum “was the guy Aaron Rodgers wanted” (video link). With him off the board, the Packers extended their streak of not using a Round 1 pick on a wideout, but he reports that they are a candidate to trade up for one tonight (video link).
  • One of the most surprising fallers on Thursday night was pass rusher Jermaine Johnson II. Part of the reason he was still on the board for the Jets at No. 25, Breer notes, was poor interviews with teams in the pre-draft process. Thought by some as a top-10 pick, he ended up with the Jets anyway, and figures to serve as a notable boost to their pass rush.

Draft Rumors: Stingley, Jaguars, Alabama, Cine, Burks

According to Matt Miller of ESPN, Derek Stingley, Jr. is the hottest name in the 2022 NFL Draft right now. The LSU cornerback has long been considered one of the top-two cornerback prospects available, along with Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad Gardner. Miller claims that Stingley is trending as high as the top-three with the Lions or Texans rumored to be interested in him at No. 2 or 3 overall.

After a stellar freshman season, Stingley was easily viewed as the best cornerback that would be available by the 2022 Draft. But, after a subpar 2020 season and only appearing in three games last year, combined with another stellar season from Gardner, NFL teams have allowed a bit of room for Gardner to challenge as the best corner on the board. The NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah has Gardner ranked as the third-best prospect overall with Stingley at 15th, while Dane Brugler of The Athletic has Gardner at fifth overall with Stingley at 14th. Miller, though, seems to think Stingley won’t make it past the Seahawks at 9th overall on Thursday night.

Here are a few more notes for the upcoming Draft, starting with some speculation down in Duval:

  • Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke let it be known on Friday that Jacksonville is considering four players for their number one overall draft pick this Thursday, according to Charean Williams of NBC Sports. Many mock drafts have them going with Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson or Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker, but they’ve also had their name attached to Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal and NC State offensive lineman Ikem Ekwonu. It’s hard to imagine any other names entering the conversation for Jacksonville’s top pick.
  • On their postseason run last year, college football powerhouse Alabama lost two of their top pass catchers in two of the biggest games of their season. John Metchie tore his ACL in the team’s SEC Championship victory over Georgia on December 4th. A little over a month later, Jameson Williams tore his ACL in the team’s National Championship game loss to Georgia on January 10th. According to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, the two are progressing impressively in their recoveries, with that opinion being echoed by the NFL teams who have looked into their medical information. They may both be on track to play in the upcoming season, depending on how conservative of a team they end up with. The important thing, though, is that, while their stock may have been affected a bit by injury, they are both fully expected to hear their names called next week.
  • Georgie safety Lewis Cine visited with the Buccaneers this week, according to Jenna Laine of ESPN. Cine led the Bulldogs in tackles and passes broken up for the season last year en route to being named the defensive MVP of the team’s National Championship victory over Alabama. According to Laine, when asked if signing Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal precluded them from drafting a safety, Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht simply replied, “No.”
  • According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks added two more teams to his list of visits earlier this week. Burks met with the Bears and Cardinals as he continues to trend in the first round. Read more about Burks in his NFL Draft Prospect Profile here.

Eight Georgia Bulldogs Declare For Draft

After wrapping of the 2021 football season with a National Championship win over the Crimson Tide, Georgia is ready to send a couple players to the NFL. So far, we’ve seen declarations from running backs Zamir White and James Cook, wide receiver George Pickens, offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer, defensive linemen Travon Walker and Devonte Wyatt, linebacker Nakobe Dean, and safety Lewis Cine.

White was a 5-star recruit out of North Carolina and the consensus top-ranked running back in the 2018 graduating class. White was forced to red-shirt his true freshman season after tearing his ACL, his second such injury in about 9 months. After healing, he took snaps behind D’Andre Swift and Brian Herrien before taking over as the lead back in 2020 rushing for 1,635 yards and 22 touchdowns over the next two seasons. Dane Brugler, of The Athletic, has White ranked as the 7th-best running back in the class and he should expect to hear his name on Day 2 or 3 of the draft.

James Cook, the younger brother of Dalvin Cook, came into Georgia the same year as White but didn’t have to sit out his freshman year. Cook has sat just below White on the depth chart for the three years they were both active, racking up 1,031 rushing yards along with 10 touchdowns in the past two seasons. He is ranked the 5th-best running back on Brugler’s list and should also expect to hear his name in the middle rounds.

Pickens arrived at Georgia as a 5-star recruit after flipping from a commitment to Auburn. He led the team in receiving his freshman year with 727 yards and 8 touchdowns. He improved his yards per game average the next year but missed two games in an already shortened COVID-season. Pickens tore his ACL in March 2021 but returned to contribute to the Bulldogs’ National Championship run catching 2 passes for 61 yards in two playoff games. Brugler has Pickens as the 9th-best receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft. It’s expected that some team will take a flyer on the big-bodied receiver on Day 2 or early into Day 3.

Salyer was a 5-star recruit and the consensus top-ranked guard in the 2018 graduating class. Salyer saw his first start late in his sophomore year before securing his spot as the blindside starting tackle for the next two seasons. He missed a couple games with an injury this year, but he surrendered no sacks in eleven starts this year. Brugler has Salyer as the 7th-best interior offensive lineman and we should expect to hear his name on Day 2 or early into Day 3.

Walker came in as a 5-star recruit from west Georgia and dominated as soon as he arrived. Walker became an instant presence on the line with an elite get-off. After starting at defensive tackle for every game this season, Walker led the defensive line in sacks as an interior lineman with 6.0. Despite his size and placement in the Georgia defense, Brugler has Walker as the 4th-best edge rusher in the draft. Whether or not that’s where NFL teams see the junior Bulldog playing, he’s expected to hear his name called late in the first-round or early in the second.

Wyatt initially attended Hutchinson Community College to help meet the academic requirements needed to play Division I football. After transferring to Georgia, Wyatt rotated on the defensive line for two years before becoming a starter in 2020. Wyatt decided to use the extra year of eligibility, granted due to COVID-19, to come back for the 2021 season and it certainly paid off. Brugler has Wyatt as the 4th-best interior defensive lineman and he’s expected to be selected in the middle rounds of the draft.

Dean was a 5-star recruit and the consensus second-ranked inside linebacker in the 2019 graduating class. The much-ballyhooed linebacker made an immediate impact in his freshman year before nabbing the starting job for his entire sophomore and junior seasons. He culminated his final season not only with a National Championship trophy but also with the 2021 Butkus Award trophy given to the top linebacker in college football. He finished the season second on the team in tackles (behind fellow draft hopeful, Cine) and with the team lead in tackles for loss. Dean is the 2nd-best linebacker on Brugler’s list and is widely expected to go in the first round.

Cine was a Top-100 recruit in the 2019 graduating class. Cine played every game his freshman season before taking over as the starting safety for the next two seasons. Cine led the team in tackles for the season and made a few big plays to help the team clinch their National Championship. Brugler has Cine as the 3rd-best safety in the draft and he’s expected to hear his name called on Day 1 or early in Day 2 of the draft.

These eight aren’t the last Bulldogs expected to declare for the draft, either. Although no announcements have been made, defensive tackle, and winner of the 2021 Outland Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award, Jordan Davis, linebackers Channing Tindall and Quay Walker, and cornerback Derion Kendrick all are expected to be weighing their options and could set their sights on the NFL.