Jaguars take a third-round chance on Andre Cisco, a Syracuse safety with a nose for the ball

Garry Smits
Florida Times-Union
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The Jaguars took their second defensive back on the second day of the NFL Draft in Syracuse safety Andre Cisco.

The Jaguars continued to load up on defensive backs in the third round of the NFL draft on Friday and took one made the most of a limited number of college games. 

Safety Andre Cisco of Syracuse will bring his ball-hawking skills to the NFL after playing only 11 games in the past two seasons and 24 in three years. But Cisco (6 feet, 209 pounds) has 13 interceptions over that span, 14 passes defensed and a fumble recovery. 

His interceptions rank fourth in Syracuse history. 

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Cisco played only two games last season because of an ACL injury that required surgery (he had one interception and 11 tackles) and played in nine games in 2019, missing four with a lower body injury (he had five picks). 

A New York native who played high school football at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Cisco was sensational as a freshman for the Orange in 2018, with seven interceptions, nine passes defensed and 60 tackles. 

Cisco said is progressing well since surgery six months ago. 

“Right now, I’m working on doing field work, my normal positional workouts, so, I’m on the field and moving around and I feel pretty good," he said. "I’m working at 85 percent right now ... little tweaks here and there, so I would say that I’m still working through this journey. I’m not there yet, but I'm looking forward to starting training camp out and being 100 percent cleared.”

“I’ve been doing field work, my normal positional workouts on the field, moving around pretty good,” he said. “I’m fortunate to get drafted this early. I’m blessed in a hundred different ways … I’m ready to get to my city and get to work. This is the moment I've been waiting for.” 

Jaguars coach Urban Meyer compared Cisco to two former NFL safeties he coached in college and were drafted in the first round by NFL teams, Reggie Nelson (University of Florida and the Jaguars) and Malik Hooker (Ohio State and Indianapolis).

 “He’s a guy we just all fell in love with," Meyer said. "Best ball skills, we felt, in the back end of the draft. We had a couple of incredible Zoom calls with him. Great background, great character and if he wasn’t injured, I think that was a value pick. We’re real pleased with that.”. 

General manager Trent Baalke said he feels “pretty good” about the medical reports the team has received on Cisco. 

“We're very optimistic that he’ll come in and get going right away,” he said.

Cisco has known Jaguars safeties coach Chris Ash since he was in high school, when Ash recruited him while on the Rutgers staff.

"Coach Ash and I go far back ... so, that relationship was there," he said. "So I thought it could happen. And I’m very grateful that it did.”

Cisco said he has taken the time off to become more appreciative of the game. 

“The biggest thing was understanding that the game can be taken away from you,” he said. “Every time I set foot on the field, I will be grateful I have that opportunity.” 

He also goes from having to game-plan in college for Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne to becoming a teammate with them. 

“It’s going to be a cool interaction with them,” he said. “I had to study them and now we’re on the same team. I’m glad to have them on my side.” 

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