Name: Isaiah Simmons - Position: LB
Height: 6'4" - Weight: 240 lbs
School: Clemson - Age: 21
Pro ceiling: Derwin James
Analyst : Chaz Turnbow - @CCNFLDraft
He lines up all over the field, playing the majority of his snaps as a sam linebacker or as a slot defender and has lined up as a stand up rushing OLB and even occasionally as a deep safety. Has very good instincts to diagnose the play at the snap and elite athleticism lets him excel in space. The fact that he possesses the size to compete with tight ends and the speed to stay attached to slot receivers in phase makes him a match-up nightmare inside the numbers. Plays with good discipline with the ball in the air, making sure to get his head around to not commit costly penalties. Has fantastic closing speed, his click and close on a ball carrier is nearly instantaneous. Is a great blitzer, his patience and explosiveness is a deadly combination when running games up front in Brent Venables’ system. Unmatched open field athleticism at his size grants him elite sideline to sideline range while still being able to meet running backs near the line of scrimmage. Slippery off of blocks. Stays disciplined as a force or control defender and does not give up angles to the sideline. Tackling form is excellent in the open field, and also has good stopping power, helping prevent extra yards after initial contact.
Honestly guys, very little. But since I’m not trying to advocate for him to go 1st overall I have to get nitpicky. Is kept very clean by Clemson’s talent at defensive line, so he is able to roam freely at the second level the majority of the time. When engaged, he usually isn’t engaged for long, but he will be consistently displaced and out of the play when he’s reached by an offensive lineman. His versatility is ironically his biggest weakness, if a coach isn’t willing to use him as a defensive weapon and try to make him play the typical Mike, Sam, or box safety role, they will be doing him a disservice.
Games Watched: 2019 Georgia Tech, 2019 South Carolina, 2019 Virginia, 2019 Ohio State
Prototypical defender for the current state of the NFL. He will surely be classified as a linebacker at the next level and will be in discussions to be the best coverage linebacker in the league by the end of his rookie season. His effect on a defense is limited only by defensive coordinators and talent around him. Coordinators have to be able to take advantage of his unique athleticism and skillset to open up the possibilities of their defense instead of trying to shoehorn him into a role in order to maximize the value he brings to a defense.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are by my favorite potential landing spot for Simmons. They have the DL to keep him clean and he would instantly fill the void left by Telvin Smith. For a team that has crafted their identity around this defense why not take possibly the most impactful defender in the class not from Ohio State. He brings size to the unit which lacks it, and can roam between the numbers with Myles Jack wreaking havoc for opposing offenses. Simmons’ versatility would be a welcome addition in #Sacksonville.
The Carolina Panthers could use Simmons to transition after the shock of the Kuechly retirement. Can instantly provide the range and coverage that Kuechly did which are the most important traits for linebackers in the current state of the NFL. Simmons, Jackson, and Burns would be a fantastic young core of defenders for new coach Matt Rhule to enter the league with.
The Los Angeles Chargers. Hear me out, Derwin James and Isaish Simmons on the same defense. “CC, the Chargers need a Quarterback! They need to take advantage of this draft position to secure their future.” Excuse me, but if we’re talking team fits Simmons fits with any team. So why not let me have fun envisioning a world where the Chargers hoard two of the best matchup nightmares to have come out of college in the last 5 years. Go get Teddy Bridgewater or something, Free Agency exists.