Why Jaguars S Andre Cisco is in for a breakout season in 2024

• Jaguars S Andre Cisco is in a position to have a banner year in 2024.
Carolina Panthers v Jacksonville Jaguars
Carolina Panthers v Jacksonville Jaguars / Courtney Culbreath/GettyImages

There are plenty of defensive players on the Jacksonville Jaguars keen to prove themselves in 2024. Safety Andre Cisco is one of them. The former Syracuse Orangeman is entering a contract year and stands to benefit tremendously from having a new man in charge, Ryan Nielsen. He’ll be fighting to earn a salary bump, and there’s every reason to believe that Cisco will have a breakout year as CBS Sports is projecting.

Andre Cisco’s career with the Jaguars so far

While his numbers don’t immediately jump off the page, Andre Cisco’s been a steady contributor to a Jags defense that’s struggled mightily against the pass.

Despite being a superstar cover man in college, injury red flags made the New York, Queens native fall into the third round in 2021. It’s fair to say he’s not yet been close to the All-American we saw as a freshman; however, I believe he’s overachieved, given how far his stock dropped coming out of Syracuse.

Everyone gave Trevor Lawrence a free pass in year one because Urban Meyer was on the sidelines. That season, like many Jaguar youngsters, was underwhelming for Cisco, who registered 19 solo tackles, defended two passes, two forced fumbles, and had no interceptions.

The following season, Cisco had 30 more solo tackles, a sack, and three picks. Those numbers went down slightly last season, but not drastically, while he had a career-high four interceptions.

Why Andre Cisco will thrive under Ryan Nielsen?

Andre Cisco is one of many Jaguars players poised to have a banner season in 2024.
Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans / Logan Riely/GettyImages

Ryan Nielsen has a reputation for improving defenses quickly, and Cisco should thrive under his leadership. Nielsen has preached the importance of being aggressive and attacking on the defensive side, often using the word “forward.” 

Attacking and aggressive seems to suit Cisco to a tee, as he has been that in spades since first stepping onto a football field for the Jags. His straight-line speed and urgent demeanor to attack the line of scrimmage are two of his major strengths. Let’s not forget that he’s played cornerback before and looked like a ballhawk in college, making 13 interceptions in 24 games.

Standing 6'0" and weighing 210 pounds, Cisco’s built like a stocky safety that can glide downfield like a centre fielder in baseball, with his speed, length, and ability to track the ball. Because of his skill set and the arrival of Ryan Nielsen, you’d think he’ll take a massive leap in year four of his NFL career.

Jessie Bates is one of the many success stories who flourished with Nielsen as defensive coordinator. The former second-round pick signed a four-year deal worth over $64 million with the Falcons in 2023 and earned every penny of his first-year salary this past season. He had a career-high for solo tackles (89), interceptions (six), sacks (three) and forced fumbles (three), earning his first Pro Bowl selection.

If Cisco takes off in 2024, he'll be in a position to command as big as Bates, if not bigger.

Andre Cisco’s contract situation entering 2024

Cisco will be entering a contract season in 2024. His cap hit will be nearly $3.5 million. Unlike fellow draftees Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne, Cisco doesn't have a fifth-year option on his rookie deal because he was not taken in the first round.

At 24 years old, Cisco is not quite a polished product like Bates, who is three years his senior, but the IMG Academy grad has room to grow and there’s no reason to believe he won’t. He has the tools to have a big season in 2024, and I believe Nielsen is the perfect coach to unlock that potential and take his game to the next level.

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