Jaguars S Andre Cisco dubbed a third-year breakout candidate for 2023

Jan 14, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars safety Andre Cisco (5) reacts.
Jan 14, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars safety Andre Cisco (5) reacts. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars plugged safety Andre Cisco into the starting lineup last season and he quickly put on display the ballhawk skills that made him a fixture of the Syracuse defense during his college career. Cisco should keep getting better in 2023, which is why Gordon McGuinness of Pro Football Focus thinks Cisco is poised to break out in his third NFL season.

McGuiness put together a list of third-year breakout candidates for 2023 and included Cisco, noting that he's progressively improved since the end of his rookie campaign.

"Cisco stepped up into a full-time starting role in his second season in the league after impressing late in his rookie year. His 67.1 PFF grade in 2022 ranked 34th at the position, while his 69.4 PFF coverage grade ranked 28th. He could clean up his tackling a bit after missing 12.5% of the tackles he attempted last year, but his career looks to be firmly on an upward trajectory heading into year three."

Cisco faced durability concerns during the pre-draft process in 2021, having suffered a lower-body injury that forced him to miss a few games in 2019 and later missing the 2020 campaign after tearing his ACL. In the end, his injury history might have played a role in him sliding to the third round, where the Jags took him 65th overall. The former Syracuse Orangeman managed to stay healthy throughout his rookie campaign but only got playing time near the end of the season.

Right off the bat, Cisco showed what he brought to the table, registering 15 tackles and one forced fumble in the last three games of the 2021 season. The New York native became a full-time starter last year and went on to tally 73 total tackles, 10 passes defensed, and three interceptions.

Given that Cisco's entering his second season in defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell's scheme, expecting him to keep making strides and improve his overall production is reasonable.

Jaguars S Andre Cisco knows the defense must put in lots of work in 2023

The Jaguars finished 12th in points allowed last season but ranked 19th in touchdowns passes surrendered. Similarly, they logged just 35 sacks, tied for 26th in the league. If they want to consistently get into a shootout to win football games, they'll need the defense to step up.

Cisco also thinks the defense must improve their takeaway margin next season, "Improve our takeaway margin", Cisco told Rick Ballou of 1010 XL during a recent exchange, "That's something that won us games even when the defense wasn't perfect you take the ball away, it erased a lot of mistakes.

"Keeping it at the forefront of our focus; focusing on bringing the energy, focus on your one job and do it to the best of your ability. You said this every year but you take it up a notch and really master the ins and outs of this defense. This is the defense when you learn in the first year, you know where you're at, where you're supposed to be but knowing where the next guy's supposed to be, understanding the intricacies of it, and then be able to make more plays that way", Cisco said.

Arden Key notwithstanding, all the Jaguars' starters on defense last year are back in 2022. And although the team's brass added depth to most position groups in the draft, it might take a while before their 2023 rookie class has a noticeable impact, so it will be up to Cisco and other defensive players to step up and make plays.

Cisco has been a great pickup for Jacksonville Jaguars and if he has a breakout season as projected, their secondary should have no trouble creating takeaways in 2023.

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