Former Clemson Tigers star Isaiah Simmons did it all in college. Considered a linebacker, he played in the defensive backfield and even rushed the passer at times.
Simmons has been trending upward in recent weeks leading up to NFL Scouting Combine. There’s now no question about his status as a top-10 pick after what we saw Saturday in Indianapolis.
The skinny: Even before taking part in the 40-yard dash, Simmons was showing out in a big way during Saturday’s combine. But once Simmons put up a 4.39 40-yard, it was all taken to a whole new level.
All said, Simmons’ performance from Indy was among the best we’ve seen from a defender in some time.
Simmons’ 40 time was the second fastest for an off-ball linebacker in combine history, behind only Shaquem Griffin back in 2018.
The essentials: Standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing 238 pounds, Simmons’ measurables are through the rough.
- The size and speed combination are two things teams are going to drool over moving forward. He’s a modern-day linebacker in the mold of a Bobby Wagner and Fred Warner.
- What makes Simmons so darn special is that he can be utilized as a safety, too. We’ve heard experts compare him to former Los Angeles Chargers first-round pick and Pro Bowler Derwin James.
- While James was drafted specifically to be a safety, Simmons’ ability to play all over the field will push up his stock big time.
The teams: As noted above, what Simmons brings to the table is going to be sought after big time come draft time in Vegas this April. There’s a number of teams selecting in the top 10 who could use this type of talent.
- Detroit Lions (No. 3): Matt Patricia and Co. have been linked more to cornerback Jeff Okudah if they were to stand pat at three. However, Simmons would fit this defense to an absolute T. Think Jamie Collins under Patricia with more talent.
- New York Giants (No. 4): We’re hearing reports that general manager David Gettleman is absolutely sky high on Simmons. Could it force New York to go defense again rather than finding Daniel Jones a star receiver or left tackle? It’s possible.
- Los Angeles Chargers (No. 6): Speaking of James, the idea of teaming him up with Joey Bosa and Simmons would be extraordinary. Los Angeles’ defense could make the jump we saw from the San Francisco 49ers last season if this came to fruition.
- Carolina Panthers (No. 7): What better way to replace recently-retired future Hall of Famer Luke Kuechly? Sure the Panthers are said to be targeting a quarterback for first-year head coach Matt Rhule. But this would be a tremendous pick.
- Cleveland Browns (No. 10): We don’t envision Simmons lasting past Carolina. If that were to happen, the Browns make a ton of sense. It was just reported that the team will not retain Pro Bowler Joe Schobert. Simmons would be an immediate upgrade.
The bottom line
Simmons was already pretty much a lock to go in the first half of Round 1 heading into the NFL Scouting Combine.
While I’m not a fan of looking specifically at workout warriors in Indy, Simmons’ performance at Clemson coupled with what we saw this weekend has elevated his stock big time.
At this point, it would not be a surprise if the defender went in the top five when all was said and done. The Lions and Giants have to be salivating over the idea of adding him to the mix.