By: Chip Turner
As the 2021 NFL Draft approaches, PhinManiacs takes a look at several safety prospects. In doing so, I’ve discovered that “ranking” safeties is virtually impossible, as there are different styles of safeties for different styles of defense. Additionally, there are not only cornerback/safety hybrids, but also linebacker/safety hybrids
For this reason, I’m simply going to list the safeties I’m reviewing alphabetically.
Andre Cisco – Syracuse
6’ – 209 pounds
Andre Cisco is a ball-hawking safety who’s also proficient against the run. He made an immediate impact on the Orange defense as a Freshman, picking off seven passes as well as being a run-stopping force. He picked off five more passes as a Sophomore, and only two in an injury-shortened junior campaign. He shows great awareness, and closes on passes and RB explosively. Aggressive, instinctive, and is a natural at baiting QBs, reading their eyes well. One of the more telling things about Cisco is that Syracuse’s defense suffered as a whole without him, both in 2019 and 2020.
Cisco had leg injuries two years in a row, including an ACL tear that cost him all but two games of the 2020 season. It’s arguable that the second injury was a freak accident (it occurred in a collision with a teammate in pre-game warmups), but it’s going to be a factor on Draft Day. Cisco’s aggression can also get the better of him at times. Film study reveals his cues, and he’ll get burned more often than he did in college if he doesn’t mask them; NFL QBs can bait safeties every bit as well as he baited QBs in college. Some have suggested he’s a little small for the position, but I don’t see that being an issue - Cisco closes light a bullet and hits like a freight train.
There’s a lot to like about Andre Cisco, and if he’d stayed healthy, he might be viewed as the top overall safety in the NFL Draft. But…he didn’t. He’ll bring physicality and smarts to whichever team drafts him, and will more than likely be off the board before the end of Day Two.