Our next defensive prospect might have one of the most impressive athletic abilities in this draft, and that is Isaiah Simmons of Clemson.
Isaiah Simmons is a man of many traits. His primary position is linebacker, but he is a guy that can play several positions on the defensive side of the ball. Simmons is one of the most athletic players in this draft class.
Simmons is coming off a career year with 67 solo tackles, 8 sacks and 3 interceptions. He is aggressive and has elite vision down the field. He is an instant play maker for several teams in this draft, and will certainly be a franchise player for years to come.
Isaiah Simmons will bring a very unique trait to whichever team drafts him. That’s his elite versatility. Isaiah Simmons is like a utility man in baseball, you can stick him anywhere on the field defensively and not have to worry about that spot. Simmons will most likely see most of his time as an off-ball linebacker. This is where he will best be able to disrupt the game.
Simmons also brings teams insane athleticism and an innate ability to diagnose plays. He can stay with running backs in coverage. He can also get after the quarterback on a blitz. Simmons also has the ability to blow up running plays before they even get started.
Simmons is a next level linebacker/safety hybrid, which is something more and more NFL teams are utilizing in their defenses. He’s a guy you can plug in anywhere and use for an array of things effectively like blitzes and coverage. He’s quick with long arms which makes him effective off blocks. As a cover guy he displays very good instincts and awareness for where the ball is, and that was apparent especially when he was defending screen passes. The combination of his size and speed, along with his versatility makes him a top-level defensive prospect in this draft.
Isaiah Simmons does not really have any major red flags. However, if I were to pick one minor flaw, it would be his lack of strength. He does make people overlook this case with his aggressiveness, though.
Another thing he could work on as well is reacting to zone coverage. There are times when Simmons will not react soon enough and he will miss opportunities to make big plays. With as athletic and versatile as he is, I do not see this being that big of an issue to work on at all.
Simmons has no major issues. That’s not to say there aren’t things he can improve on. He could stand to be stronger. This will help him at the point of attack. A stronger Simmons would help him shed blocks. This would help him not only in the run game, but also help him when he gets after the QB.
Simmons has tremendous power for being only 230 lbs and in college he could get by, but in the NFL, offensive linemen are monsters. If he could add 10-15 lbs more of muscle, I feel it would improve his strength without affecting his athleticism. This will also help him in the long term durability wise when he has to go up against power-run teams like the 49ers or Titans.
Draft Projection: Where will one of the most athletic players land in the 2020 NFL Draft?
Isaiah Simmons is one of the best prospects in this draft class, and he has the talent to be selected in the top five. A great fit would be the New York Giants, who need a defensive playmaker. If he were to fall out of the top five, I do like the Jacksonville Jaguars fit a lot. He and Myles Jack would be a force to be reckoned with on that defense.
Isaiah Simmons is a Top-10 pick. His athleticism and versatility will prove too much for teams to pass on. A team like the Jaguars would be an excellent fit for him. They will help him grow as a player while also getting to play around players like Myles Jack and Josh Allen.
Simmons is a can’t miss defensive prospect and he will be picked in the top-10. If your favorite team needs a defensive center-piece going forward, Simmons is your guy. If Arizona doesn’t go left tackle with their eighth pick, expect him to go there. Carolina picking at seven could also select him as a solid replacement for the retiring Luke Kuechly.