Jacksonville Jaguars: Is rookie S Andre Cisco poised for big role in 2021?

Syracuse Orange defensive back Andre Cisco #7 (Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse Orange defensive back Andre Cisco #7 (Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Jacksonville Jaguars were aware safety was one of their biggest needs this offseason, so they took several steps to upgrade the position. Besides signing Rudy Ford and Rayshawn Jenkins in free agency, they also used a third-round selection in this year’s draft on Andre Cisco.

Jenkins will most likely start next to veteran Jarrod Wilson in the season opener but Cisco could earn a key role on the Jags’ defense in 2021. Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports recently laid down a list of non-first-round rookies in the AFC that could have an impact in 2021 and the former Orangeman product popped up.

Trapasso points out that Cisco snagged 13 interceptions in 24 career games at Syracuse. He also believes that he shouldn’t have lasted as much as he did in the draft. He cites his range and penchant for making big plays as reasons. Trapasso predicts the safety is going to be explosive even though he suffered a torn ACL last year. Moreover, he thinks the rookie is going to help make Jacksonville’s secondary ‘more respectable’ this upcoming season.

Other non-first-round rookies that showed up in Trapasso list are Buffalo Bills EDGE rusher Carlos Basham Jr., New England Patriots defensive tackle Christian Barmore, Miami Dolphins left guard Liam Eichenberg, Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Ben Cleveland, Cleveland Browns linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Denver Broncos cornerback Kary Vincent Jr., Houston Texans wide receiver Nico Collins, Indianapolis Colts tight end Kylen Granson, and Tennessee Titans wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick.

Andre Cisco will eventually join the Jacksonville Jaguars’ starting lineup.

Safety is far from a strength for the Jacksonville Jaguars but it isn’t a weakness either after the additions they made this offseason. If Wilson or Jenkins missed time with injuries, Cisco could step into Jacksonville’s defensive lineup. However, he would need to show he’s a better option than sophomore Daniel Thomas, who showed flashes last season and will also compete for playing time in 2021.

Trapasso shouldn’t be surprised Cisco lasted until the third round. As talented as the safety is, he did have a few red flags ahead of the draft. Additionally to tearing his ACL in 2020, he suffered a lower-body injury the season before. While it may have just been a streak of bad luck, Cisco needs to show he can stay healthy. Moreover, he needs to work on his tackling skills and increase his awareness in coverage.

On the other hand, Cisco possesses top athleticism and is a ballhawk. Besides posting 13 interceptions in college, he also logged 14 passes defensed. Last season, the Jags registered 12 interceptions and ranked 27th in passing touchdowns allowed. The safety has the talent to help Jacksonville improve in both areas. Nevertheless, there’s no need to rush him onto the football field until he is ready. The team already has a couple of savvy veterans in place and Thomas may be next in line.

For the time being, it looks like Cisco will have to wait for the opportunity to make an impact. If he can manage to stay healthy and work on his craft, it will be just a matter of time before he gets his chance.

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