Safety was a need for the Jacksonville Jaguars ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft but they waited until the third round to address it when they took safety Andre Cisco out of Syracuse with the 65th overall pick. While the New York native didn’t see the field as much as he should in his rookie year, his performance was still recognized.
Pro Football Focus recently highlighted on social media the 2021 third-round picks with the highest overall grade last season and Cisco lead the list at 67.9. Denver Broncos offensive guard Quinn Meinerz was second with a 67.4 grade and Houston Texans wide receiver Nico Collins landed at No. 3 with a grade of 65.6.
Cisco’s inclusion on PFF’s social media post is noteworthy when you take into account that he only participated in 22 percent of the Jaguars’ defensive snaps in 2021 and most of them came in three starts late in the season. Meanwhile, Meinerz started nine games and played 57.53 percent of the Broncos’ offensive snaps while Collins participate in 14 games with 8 starts and managed to haul in 33 receptions with one touchdown despite the fact that the Texans’ quarterback situation was less than stellar last year.
Back at Syracuse, Cisco was a ballhawk, amassing 13 interceptions and 14 passes defensed in 24 collegiate games. However, injuries hurt his draft stock and most likely played a role in his slide to the third round. Had he been healthy, he could have had his name called in the first round. On a side note, Cisco caught wind of PFF’s post and responded.
Jaguars safety Andre Cisco will only get better in 2022.
An ACL injury limited Andre Cisco to two games in 2020 but he made a full recovery and didn’t have any lingering issues. Back in training camp, he was already practicing at full speed and fellow safety Rayshawn Jenkins said you couldn’t even tell he had gotten hurt the year before. Cisco earned the highest PFF grade among rookie safeties in the preseason but Andrew Wingard got the starting nod ahead of Week 1.
Cisco did get a few snaps in the first two games of the 2021 season but his playing time decreased considerably afterwards and was mostly relegated to special teams duties. However, he caught a break and joined the starting lineup when Wingard landed on the COVID-19/Reserve list before Week 15.
In three starts, Cisco logged 15 total tackles, two passes defensed, and a forced fumble. Moreover, he showed flashes of the athleticism that made him a playmaker for the Orangemen. Looking back, it’s kind of puzzling that the coaching staff kept him on the sidelines for most of the year and only gave him a chance when Dewey was unavailable.
There’s a new coaching staff in place, and Cisco should have no trouble making a positive impression this offseason. Last year, he showed flashes and the only way to turn that potential into big plays is giving the safety a realistic chance to compete for a starting spot in 2022. Don’t be shocked if he makes a big leap in Year 2.