The 2020 NFL Scouting Combine delivered plenty of excitement for teams with some of the best, young talents proving themselves on the primetime stage. While many players impressed, Clemson Tigers star Isaiah Simmons delivered the kind of performance that sent his draft stock soaring.
The Lion King?
Simmons measured in at 6-foot-4 and put on a jaw-dropping display of athleticism. Between his 4.39 40-yard dash, one of just 12 players to run a sub-4.4, and a 39-inch vertical jump, the star defender practically jumped out of Lucas Oil Stadium.
It’s the kind of performance that caught the eye of every NFL general manager, coach and scout. In fact, he might have shown more than enough to hear his name called as a top-five pick.
The Detroit Lions desperately need a playmaker on defense, the type of impact that Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James made in his rookie season.
A defense that allowed the second-most total yards per game (400.4) and finished bottom-10 in points allowed, needs someone with rare athleticism, instincts and unmatched versatility.
NFL Combine Winners & Losers
While taking Simmons with the No. 3 overall pick would have felt like a reach a few months ago, but the Lions must now consider it. He is the missing chess piece for Matt Patricia’s defense and his showing at the NFL Combine showed why.
The 21-year-old isn’t an ordinary linebacker or safety. Simmons is a defensive weapon that can do everything and play everywhere on the field, as detailed in our latest podcast as we detailed what he brings to the table for an NFL team like the Lions.
Simmons isn’t the only player who blew away scouts and fans at the NFL Combine, either. There was plenty of movement on draft boards thanks to some standout and underwhelming performances by marquee names.
Check out Sportsnaut’s podcast NFL Reckless Speculation, which is available on Apple, Spotify and Google for more about Simmons and the Lions. NFL Reckless Speculation is brand new every Monday and Thursday.