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Syracuse 2021 NFL Draft profile: Safety Andre Cisco

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One of the country’s top ballhawks will hear his name called in this year’s draft.

Syracuse v Pittsburgh Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Even without a true scouting combine this year, there were plenty of pro days, and the NFL Draft’s still happening in just a couple weeks. While we’ve had concerns in the past about whether Syracuse Orange football players would even be selected, that’s not the case in 2021.

This time around, it does look like three Syracuse players will hear their names called during this year’s draft, which is taking place from April 29-May 1. Before that, we’re putting together profiles on each to discuss where they might be picked. Plus we’ll have an additional profile for the one Orange prospect who appears to be a free agent target.

On Thursday, we talked about Ifeatu Melifonwu’s draft potential. Today:

Name: Andre Cisco

Position: Safety

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 216 lbs.

Hometown: Valley Stream, N.Y.

NFL Draft Projections: Probably going in the third round in part due to the injury rehab this offseason. Otherwise, could’ve potentially wound up a second-rouder.

2020 Stats: Unfortunately, we hardly got to see Cisco in action during his final year on campus. He played in just two games during the 2020 campaign before a freak injury before the Georgia Tech game ended his campaign. But in those two contests, he had 11 tackles, 0.5 TFLs and an interception (of course).

Career Stats: In just 24 games of action at the college level, Cisco was one of the most electrifying defensive backs in the country. He collected 136 tackles, two TFLs, two forced fumbles, and defended 29 passes while also recording 13 interceptions. As a freshman, he led the FBS in picks and earned both All-ACC and All-American honors. He was still second-team All-ACC in 2019 too, despite missing three games due to injury.

Game(s) to Watch: Check out his 2019 FSU tape, where he defended three passes and collected five tackles. There’s also the 2019 Duke game, which featured four tackles, but also a pick-six.

Pro Day Performance:

Not much of one for Cisco, given the knee injury he’s still recovering from. He’s got a solid wingspan (77.25 inches) for a player who’s six feet tall, which is at least part of why he’s able to get in the way of so many passes.

Pros

As we know, he’s an impressive playmaker who can chase down errant passes with ease and hauls in interceptions as a rule. He excels when being able to be creative and play center field a bit more, leading to both tipped balls and big hits. His strength and his ability to get stronger throughout his time at SU was noticeable, as was his game-by-game improvement over the course of two years. He rarely made the same mistake twice while playing for the Orange.

Cons

That big-play ability obviously comes with some big risks, as we came to know. He wasn’t as great of a tackler at Syracuse as he was a hitter, and at times, over-committing to make a play could leave the rest of the secondary out to dry. He didn’t necessarily excel as a run defender (had just a 51.1 run defense grade on PFF in 2019), which would likely need to improve — though, you take all of these concerns if he’s able to make interceptions happen at the NFL level the way he did in college.

Fun Fact: Back in 2018, Cisco was the second true freshman to ever lead the country in interceptions, and the first one to pull of the feat since 1951 (though yes, part of that was impacted by true freshmen not playing for a significant amount of time there).

TNIAAM Draft Prediction: Not as many teams are in need of safety help as corner help, but there’s still plenty of room on a roster for any defender that can flip the field like Cisco. Of course trades can happen. But a third round selection could land him with any number of teams trying to add secondary help, including the Vikings, Ravens, Jaguars, Eagles, Chargers and Washington.

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