Dallas Cowboys 7-Round Mock Draft: Operating in Balance

Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /
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Andre Cisco, SAF, Syracuse Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Andre Cisco, SAF, Syracuse Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft

3rd Round, Pick 99

Andre Cisco, SAF, Syracuse

The Syracuse safety was one of the most productive safeties in the last three years of college football but an ACL injury badly hurt his draft stock this season. It started to look like he could go in the first round at the start of the season, but as we sit now he barely makes it inside the top 100 picks.

What caused his fall from grace?

In 23 games, Cisco has recorded 136 total tackles, 92 solo tackles, two tackles for loss, 14 pass deflection, and 13 interceptions. The numbers across the board are quite impressive and do a good job of showcasing how good he currently is. But what if I told you, he hadn’t reached his final form yet?

Analysts love Cisco until they don’t. He makes a lot of flash plays but there isn’t a consistency to his game. It leaves everyone feeling largely confused as to how to take him. At the end of the third round felt like a no-brainer, but even at this point, some might like TCU Safety Ardarius Washington better. So what’s the rationale for this pick?

Cisco displays solid size at 6-feet, 210 pounds, and has good athletic ability. He displays the speed and explosiveness necessary to cover tight ends and slot receivers in off-man coverage and has enough change of direction and speed to cover routes in his deep 1/3rd and to chase down receivers near the boundary.

Those reasons should be good enough for the Cowboys over drafting him, but the consistency at which he does these things is frustrating. At his best, he is keying the quarterback and then using his good athletic ability to move and make plays on receivers or the ball. At his worst, he gets caught looking peeking at different receivers in the backfield only to allow a slot receiver to beat him down the seam.

It’s frustrating, but the mental processing issues that occasionally happen seem a lot more correctable than analysts make them out to be. If anything I’d be a little more concerned about his tackling.

136 tackles over 23 games is a lot and it proves he can make tackles. He displayed the requisite play strength to absorb contact from people like Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne in college; that strength and physical toughness is always welcome when you are the last line of defense. However, much like his mental processing, his pursuit angles can be all sorts of whack.

He sees the player, explodes out of his break, and then the receiver just runs around him.

Cisco has so many good moments negated by his equally bad moments. An ACL injury in his second game of the 2020 season was never going to help him especially athletically. Hopefully, if the Cowboys were to select him, they can simplify the game down for him in order to bring some consistency to his game.