Jacksonville Jaguars: Could Andre Cisco start in Week 1?

Safety Andre Cisco #38 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Safety Andre Cisco #38 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

The Jacksonville Jaguars knew safety was a need earlier this year and took several steps to address it. Besides signing Rayshawn Jenkins and Rudy Ford in free agency, they also used a third-round pick in this year’s draft on Andre Cisco. The Syracuse product earned positive reviews in the early stages of training camp and was named a sleeper but could he start in Week 1?

The Jags could have drafted Tre’von Moehrig or Richie Grant in the first or second round of the draft but waited until the third to take Cisco instead. The pick made sense, as Cisco has outstanding physical skills and was a ballhawk back at Syracuse. In 24 games, he logged 13 interceptions, 14 passes defensed and two forced fumbles. On the other hand, he had injury red flags, which played a role in his draft slide. So far, he’s put any injury concerns behind.

Jenkins had a sitdown with the local media after Day 2 of Jaguars training camp and spoke glowingly of Cisco. The veteran safety said his rookie counterpart is moving well coming off an ACL injury that limited him to two games in 2020. Jenkins added that is unsure when Cisco underwent surgery but you couldn’t tell “just from looking at him”. The compliments didn’t stop there though.

"He’s poised to be a young player. I remember coming in, I wasn’t as poised as him, and I was telling him that. So, I’m trying to stay in his ear just so he can kind of see where his game is compared to some other guys."

Andre Cisco has a legitimate shot to start for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jenkins will most likely start at one safety spot and Jarrod Wilson at the other. However, Cisco could also join the starting lineup. Jarrod Wilson has missed a few practices because of COVID-19 close contact. While it’s never good news to hear a player could have the virus, the rookie could benefit from Wilson’s absence.

The first-year safety wouldn’t have a direct path to the starting lineup though. He would also have to compete with sophomore Daniel Thomas. Also, Wilson can come back at any time and can reclaim the top spot on the depth chart. Working in his favor, Cisco has ample time to show the coaching staff he deserves a featured role on defense.

Moreover, Wilson is set to become a free agent in 2021. The team’s brass probably drafted Cisco with that in mind and based on his talent, it may be a matter of time before he joins the starting line. Based on the most recent developments, that could be as early as Week 1.

Last season, the Jacksonville Jaguars ranked 27th in both passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed. That’s why they made it a priority to revamp their secondary earlier this year. They expect their rookie class to contribute right out of the gate. While quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne may be getting most of the headlines, Cisco will also have a legitimate shot to contribute this upcoming season.

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