As expected, Syracuse had a good second night of the Draft.
All-American safety Andre Cisco was taken by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the first pick of the third round, while cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu was drafted 101st overall, also in the third round, by the Detroit Lions.
The general consensus is that these two are talented enough to succeed on any NFL roster, but that doesn’t minimize the importance of “fit” at the beginning of a professional career. So let’s evaluate the landing spots for SU’s newest league reps.
Andre Cisco: Jacksonville
The Jaguars are a surging team. Of course, the Trevor Lawrence pick is grabbing the headlines, but Jaguars fans got a first round talent in the third round. Cisco only fell because of a freak lower-body injury he suffered in pregame warmups during a collision with a teammate.
Cisco is a ball hawk, one of the best in the draft. As a true freshman he tied the FBS lead with seven interceptions. His 2019 campaign was cut short due to injury, but he was tied for seventh in the country with five interceptions in his sophomore season. If the safety can stay healthy, then he will be a strong pro for years to come, and a building block for a Jags defense that ranked second-worst last year.
Ifeatu Melifonwu: Detroit
Well, the Lions absolutely needed a cornerback after dealing Darius Slay. Melifonwu made a lot of sense in the middle of the third round. The cornerback was a late bloomer who made the All-ACC third team in SU’s shortened 2020 season. The real surge on the draft board, however, came in the Senior Bowl.
The bottom line is the Lions need a lockdown corner, and Melifonwu has a chance to blossom into that. Detroit had the worst defense in the league last season, with the third-worst passing defense. The Syracuse product is going to be thrown into the fire early, with a chance to start Week 1.