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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: S Andre Cisco

  • The Draft Network
  • December 23, 2020
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Syracuse safety Andre Cisco’s college career will be remembered for the frequent splash plays he made on the football that resulted in 13 interceptions and 14 pass breakups in just 24 games. He’s a ball magnet and his ability to take away the football makes him an appealing prospect. Not only is he a ballhawk, but Cisco’s size and athleticism are also both plus traits. Unfortunately, Cisco’s game tape reveals several notable warts. While his ball production is exciting, he is a freelancer in coverage that is always looking for the big play, but that results in far too many blown coverages. In addition, Cisco is inconsistent when it comes to run fills, tackling, mirroring routes in man, and anticipating routes in zone. From a technique standpoint, Cisco has considerable room for growth. Further complicating Cisco’s valuation is the lower-body injury he suffered in September. He collided with a teammate during pregame warm-ups on Sept. 26 against Georgia Tech, which ended his season. Cisco has all of the tools needed to grow and become an impact starter in the NFL, but notable development is needed for him to reach his ceiling. 

Ideal Role: Starting free safety that plays primarily in deep alignments.

Scheme Fit: Single-high and split-zone safety.


Written by Joe Marino 

Games watched: Louisville (2019), Florida State (2019), Clemson (2019), Pittsburgh (2019), North Carolina (2020), Pittsburgh (2020) 

Best Game Studied: North Carolina (2020) 

Worst Game Studied: Louisville (2019) 

Football IQ: While Cisco’s ball skills and ball production are eye-popping, he’s very much a freelancer in coverage. His route anticipation skills are lacking in zone coverage and he often gets caught flat-footed in man coverage reps—again revealing a lack of natural feel for mirroring routes. There are technical deficiencies taking on blocks and as a tackler, which create some concern when coupled with the aforementioned factors. Cisco has room to grow when it comes to understanding the game. 

Tackling: Cisco has his share of positive reps as a tackler, but overall he’s inconsistent. There are times he obviously wants to drag down or ankle nip while passing on opportunities to square up, wrap, and bring his feet through the ball carrier. He often arrives at the ball out of control which leads to frequent whiffs. Simply put, there are way too many misses on tape and it’s a notable concern. 

Versatility: There are plenty of characteristics about Cisco that make him a fit to fill any role for a safety in the NFL. He’s athletic, rangy, and offers elite ball skills, which makes him a wonderful option as a single-high safety. He has some really positive moments in a robber role, serving as a rat in the middle of the defense and defending shallow zones. He has the size and athletic profile to situationally play man coverage in the slot and flashes the physicality to play as a low safety. With that said, he’s underdeveloped in each of the aforementioned areas, leaving something to be desired in every role. 

Range: Cisco has terrific range in coverage and he’s capable of starting the snap in the middle of the field and making a play on the football outside the numbers. He maximizes his range in coverage by taking good angles to the football. In addition, he’s capable of covering significant ground in pursuit and playing downhill from deep alignments. 

Ball Skills: Cisco has elite ball production and the ball finds him. He led the ACC in interceptions in 2018 and 2019 and entered 2020 as the FBS leader in interceptions (12) and second in passes defended per game (1.27). In 2020, he only played in two games before suffering a leg injury that forced him to miss the rest of the season, but managed to come away with an interception against North Carolina—which was a terrific play on the football that revealed his ability to find the football, take a great angle, cover ground and finish. 

Run Defending: Cisco is mostly a willing run defender that illustrates good enthusiasm to trigger downhill and take on contact, more so in 2020 than in 2019. His inconsistent results as a tackler often spoil good run fills. Ultimately, Cisco is a capable run defender but he lacks consistency. 

Functional Athleticism: Cisco is an explosive athlete with terrific speed. He can close down distances rapidly and he offers outstanding range. He has the ability to elevate and play above the rim to make plays on the football. 

Competitive Toughness: It’s easy to appreciate Cisco’s desire to make the big play, but it can also be his worst enemy as it leads to blown assignments. While the tackling inconsistency is a turn off, there are positive moments where Cisco makes a big hit, whether that is taking on a block or finishing. Becoming a more assignment-driven player will make Cisco’s competitive spirit a better component of what he brings to the table. 

Flexibility: Cisco is a loose and fluid athlete that is springy and sudden. With that said, he has a tendency to play tall in his pedal which will rob him of flexibility and lead to elongated transitions. He has the necessary traits to match up in man coverage from the slot and cover ground from deeper alignments. 

Special Teams Ability: Cisco didn’t play much on special teams at Syracuse outside of occasionally on punt coverage. While he has good size and athletic ability, his inconsistent tackling results and lack of control could present issues when covering kicks in the NFL. Cisco has never been given an opportunity to return a kick or punt in college.


TDN Consensus: 77.50/100

Kyle Crabbs: 77.00/100

Joe Marino: 77.00/100

Jordan Reid: 78.00/100

Drae Harris: 78.00/100

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