Draft season is upon us. For Philadelphia Eagles fans, this is the first time in the past few years that we are looking at draft prospects instead of previewing playoff games. Everything came crashing down this year. There are plenty of needs this offseason. As we’ve covered in other prospect profiles such as Richard LeCounte and Trevon Moehrig, the Birds need to grab another safety in the draft this year.
Syracuse’s Andre Cisco is one of the many options in a stacked safety class. Similar to Moehrig, Cisco is easily one of the fastest safeties in the 2021 draft. His athleticism is what stands out the most on the tape. This is another guy who will be a combine standout. Let’s talk about what he brings to the table and what he needs to work on moving forward.
What does Andre Cisco bring to the Philadelphia Eagles?
As mentioned, Cisco can move. The kid has wheels. On film, you’ll see Cisco diagnosing run plays and meeting the running back quickly despite playing back deep in the single-high role. His closing speed is phenomenal. The change of direction is impressive too. You won’t find a guy with much more fluid hips than Cisco. In the passing game, he reads the quarterback’s eyes well and jumps routes quickly. That’s why he had 13 interceptions, two forced fumbles, and 14 passes defended in 24 career games at Syracuse.
Despite standing at six-foot and weighing 209 pounds, Cisco does not use his size to his advantage. The tackling technique needs a lot of refinement. Often, he will try to hit with his shoulder rather than wrap up tacklers. Not only that but he doesn’t always take the good angles in pursuit. There are too many whiffs that remind you a little too much of Nathan Gerry.
That’s not to say Cisco’s NFL comparison is Gerry but there are times when the tackling technique is ugly. A minor concern is that there are instances in which it doesn’t look like he’s giving full effort in pursuit. That’s something to keep an eye on.
While Cisco can jump routes quickly, opposing offenses have also taken advantage of his aggressiveness. They’ll bait him underneath when he’s playing in the single-high role and then beat him over the top. NFL offenses will have a field day using the ‘mills concept’ against Andre Cisco. For those who don’t know, the mills concept consists of a dig route from the slot receiver and a post route from the outside receiver. If Cisco bites on the dig route, the post route will be open over the top.
Cisco is just 20-years-old. With more time, he can develop more eye discipline and won’t take the bait underneath. If he came to Philly, he would have the opportunity to learn from Rodney McLeod who plays the single-high role a lot. He’ll have to stay on the field though. In 2019, Cisco missed three games. This year, he collided with a teammate in warmups early in the season and missed a few games before deciding to opt-out of the season. Injuries are a major concern for this Eagles team specifically that has had so many of them in the past few years.
Overall, Cisco has excellent traits but plenty of concerns as well. He’ll likely range from the late third round to the early fifth round. He might be a guy for the Birds to take a chance on at some point but there are definitely better options.
As mentioned, it’s important to remember that Cisco is very young. The Philadelphia Eagles are going into a transition period so developmental pieces aren’t a bad thing. They shouldn’t reach for him like other teams will because of his traits but if he’s there at the right pick, he might be worth giving a chance. If he learns to play smarter in coverage and pursuit, the sky is the limit.