Andre Cisco is one of the most important players in recent Syracuse history. Not only was he tabbed by The Fizz as a top 100 athlete the school has ever seen, he holds in his hand the possibility of helping change SU football. Cisco has many draft evaluators drooling over his potential, and had he not suffered a season-ending injury, he may have been a first-round pick.
One of the analysts that is impressed by Cisco is the NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger. He calls Andre a “ball-hawking safety” and a “plug and play” athlete, ready to compete in the NFL from Day 1.
“If the ball’s in the air, it’s his ball. Guys got skills. Coming back from an ACL now. Andre Cisco’s going to be a good player in the NFL.” – Brian Baldinger, NFL Network
Cisco’s injury will likely make him a second day pick, and two mock drafts have him pegged in the middle of the third-round. CBS Sports has him going #75 to the Cowboys, while Dane Brugler at the Athletic predicts #79 to the Raiders.
The Pro Football Network has the most comprehensive breakdown of Cisco anywhere. “Cisco has more than enough production on tape to justify confidence. He‚Äôs a potential steal in the middle rounds if he can come back as the same athlete he was in college.”
“He‚Äôs undoubtedly one of the best safeties in the 2021 NFL Draft if he can return to full strength. The good news for Cisco is that he‚Äôll only be 21 years old in March. If he needs some time in the NFL to acclimate first, he has the time he needs. If the leg injury proves to be a non-factor long-term, then Cisco is unquestionably a playmaker worthy of a Day 2 selection.” – The Pro Football Network
Now time to go back to the beginning. Cisco was a 3-star recruit from Bradenton, FL and rated as the 73rd best safety in the country. Even in his own home state he wasn’t a top 100 player. Needless to say, Cisco worked himself into becoming an NFL prospect. Multiple Big Ten schools also offered Cisco, including Nebraska, Illinois and Northwestern. He committed to Dino Babers though, after a pair of rough 4-8 seasons.
The SU coaching staff deserves major credit for helping develop Cisco into the playmaker he is. They put him into winning positions, entrusted him in a leadership role, and allowed him to flourish. After the debacle of a 1-10 season, recruiting will obviously be tough. But players still want to get to the NFL. Getting five-star kids isn’t realistic at SU, but three-star players and diamonds-in-the-rough are the foundation. Syracuse needs to build a reputation as a place that can develop you into an NFL pick, even if you’re overlooked coming out of high school.
Cisco plays a position that gets notoriety. Big interceptions, passes defensed, and exciting hits will garner attention. If Cisco comes into the league with a team that plays him right away, and may be a few defensive playmakers from winning (i.e. the Cowboys and Raiders), he has the chance to turn some heads. One player doesn’t change a recruiting culture, but if Cisco becomes a standout safety, it’s a talking point for SU coaches on the recruiting trail.
Good luck, ‘Dre. You’ve earned it, and SU could use the help.