The future looks bright for Jaguars rookie safety Andre Cisco.
While the first-year player wasn’t able to see the field very much on defense throughout the year, sitting back and learning from his fellow teammates and gaining an understanding and appreciation for the game was important, too.
Though, his rookie year didn’t go quite as expected. After being one of the best safeties in college football as far as takeaways were concerned, Cisco had to wait a bit to see the field in Jacksonville. That wasn’t his expectation, but he rolled with the punches, accepting his role.
“My expectations were to come in and do a bunch of great things right when I got to the NFL. But it doesn’t always happen like that,” he admitted on Monday. “So, I think just controlling what I can control and taking advantage of the opportunities I did get, was the biggest thing for me.”
Cisco came into the NFL after tearing his ACL a year prior during his final season at Syracuse. After an exhaustive offseason of rehab and training, Cisco was able to be cleared a few weeks into training camp. From that point forward, he felt 100%, able to do the things required of him.
Still, Cisco received limited snaps throughout the first 13 weeks of his young career. While he would play 23 and 18 snaps, respectively, over the first two weeks of the season, he would total just five defensive snaps total over the next seven weeks.
It wouldn’t be until week 14 when the Jaguars faced the Houston Texans that Cisco would get more reps on defense. He was able to slide into a role after starter Rayshawn Jenkins went down with a season-ending knee injury.
With an increased role, Cisco saw his play benefit, too, nearly causing a couple of turnovers, including a near interception against the New York Jets in Week 15, along with a forced fumble during the team’s final week of the season against the Indianapolis Colts.
His playmaking ability was seen in even just a short span.
In all, Cisco finished the year with 19 solo tackles, including 10 that came during the team’s final three weeks of the season, and two pass breakups to go along with two forced fumbles. Once he’s able to put it all together, expect those numbers to grow even more.
This offseason will be different for the young safety, instead of having to rehab a knee injury, he will actually be able to work on different things to improve his craft, he says. That’s something Cisco is looking forward to.
“Overall just training harder, doing things like actually working on speed,” Cisco said of what he can take advantage of with a normal offseason.
“Not just running in general, working on speed and agility stuff. I’ll specify this offseason as I plan with trainers and things like that. But in general, just being able to do everything is going to be a big advantage for me.”
With a new staff incoming, Cisco’s role with the team will be something to watch moving forward. It could change, after all, if the team opts to not retain defensive coordinator Joe Cullen and his defensive staff. But, that’s something that Cisco is interested in seeing in a new coach, how he may use him.
Cisco himself knows how he’d like to be used, though.
“If we had a new defensive staff, then I would say someone who’s gonna use my abilities. The way that I see it, being moved around as a piece in the defense,” Cisco explained.
In Jacksonville, the Jaguars used their safeties interchangeably, able to play close to the line of scrimmage and away from it depending on the alignment and the play call. That’s something that’ll fit Cisco’s rangy, play-making ability moving forward.
While the team’s next head coach and potential DC is unknown at the moment, look for Cisco to be a major part of the team’s plans moving forward.