2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Andre Cisco
By Charlie Campbell
Summary: Over the 2018 and 2019, Cisco was one of college football's best defensive playmakers. In 2019, Cisco had 65 tackles, five interceptions and five passes broken up. He put together a huge 2018 season with seven interceptions, 18 passes broken up, one forced fumble and 60 tackles as a freshman.
In the 2020 season opener against North Carolina, Cisco picked up where he left off, notching his 13th career interception. Disaster struck for him a few weeks later when he suffered a torn ACL in a pre-game collision before Game 3. Over his two games of 2020, Cisco recorded 11 tackles and that interception.
Numbers don't always tell the whole story about a college player or they can mislead about the type of prospect a player is for the NFL. One could argue that is the case with Cisco because safeties who rack up a lot of interceptions and check in around 6-foot, 200 pounds are expected to be deep, rangy, free safeties with excellent ball skills. The ball skills part is definitely true with Cisco, who superb at making plays on the ball. He was never a true single free safety for Syracuse, however, as the team moved him around the field and largley played him a lot more strong safety. Cisco looks like a potential NFL starter with the upside to be a playmaker for his pro defense.
In pass coverage, Cisco is a true ballhawk, which is the first thing that stands out from his tape. He is superb at snatching passes away with his soft hands, and he is able to make diving catches to produce big plays for his defense. Thanks to his excellent instincts, Cisco is a dangerous threat to create interceptions, and throwing in his direction is very risky for a quarterback.
Aside from his interceptions, Cisco is always going for the strip on tackles and when breaking up passes. His ball awareness is terrific, and he is very cognizant to punch the ball while making tackles.
Cisco is at his best in zone coverage in the middle of the field when he can keep plays in front of him. He has very good instincts and is fast to read offenses to get in position to make plays on the ball. Cisco closes quickly and is tremendous at jumping routes to break up passes. For the NFL, he will need lot of development in man coverage to handle tight ends and slot receivers.
While Cisco is not the biggest of safeties, he is a willing tackler. He flies downhill and doesn't show fear to dish out a hard hit or crash into the tackle box. Cisco flashes the ability to get low to take the legs out of the ball-carrier. Cisco, however, did have issues with missed tackles at times. Adding some strength to tackle NFL ball-carriers would help him, but considering he was a true junior in 2020, he has time to add weight for the next level, and he already looked bigger in 2020 compared to his previous seasons.
Cisco has a lot of flaws that need correcting for the NFL. His vision and eye discipline are a real problems, as Cisco can allow receivers to run by him because he can't resolve the play. Cisco also has speed limitations along with a lack of twitch, leaving him a poor fit for deep rangy free safety. Another problem is his lack of man-coverage ability.
Cisco could be a second-day pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but he could slide if a lot of teams flunk him medically due to his torn ACL.
Player Comparison: Eddie Jackson. Some team sources compared Cisco to Jackson, which makes sense. Jackson was a ballhawk and playmaker at Alabama who slid in the draft because of skill-set limitations and injuries with the Crimson Tide. However, Jackson has been an excellent safety for Chicago. Cisco could slide for the same reasons. and it would not be a surprise if he ends up being a steal for the team that drafts him.
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