Ohio State’s Chase Young has garnered nation-wide recognition as the best defensive prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft. However, a swiss-arm knife athlete from Clemson may have something to say about that. Isaiah Simmons is a 6’4”, 230+ specimen, who has lined up at every level of the Tiger’s defense throughout his college career.
Simmons has the ability to run sideline-to-sideline, rush the passer, cover the slot, and even line up as a deep safety, and show range that only exists in the upper-echelon of defensive back prospects. This type of ability has shot Simmons up draft boards, and as the draft continues to sneak up on us, Simmons should continue to see his stock climb.
Isaiah Simmons Latest Mocks & Draft Projections
In Heavy’s 2020 NFL Mock Draft: CFB Championship Game Edition, Simmons last all the way to the ninth overall pick, landing with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Simmons would work alongside Myles Jack, giving the Jags two of the most athletic linebackers in all of football. Here’s our breakdown behind the selection.
“Simmons offers superb range and athleticism that the Jaguars have been missing from the linebacker position since Telvin Smith abruptly retired. The do-it-all defender offers positional flexibility and the capability to play on all three downs, having started his career at safety. The one-time elite defense needs all the help they can get.”
Simmons lasting until the ninth-overall pick is phenomenal value for the Jags, as he currently sits at #4 on our most recent Big Board.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller sees Simmons in a very similar light to us. In his latest Big Board, Simmons ranks as the fifth-best overall player in the class and the second-best defender behind only Chase Young.
Simmons and the Jaguars appear to be a very popular fit, as Miller and with WalterFootball.com both have him coming off the board to the Jags in their latest mocks.
USA Today’s Draft Wire is one of the few Draft sites who foresee a fall out of the top-10 for Simmons. Draft Wire predicts Simmons being selected by the soon to be Las Vegas Raiders with the 12th-overall pick. Here’s a glimpse of their mindset behind the pick.
This defense needs quite a few things, so why not take a defender who can play just about every position? While some may view Simmons as a ‘tweener, a smart team will see his versatility as a positive. Simmons has lined up at linebacker, defensive back, and even on the edge, wreaking havoc on opposing offenses from every spot.
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Isaiah Simmons NFL Draft Profile
Pros: An absolute freak, Isaiah Simmons started his career at Clemson as a safety, and while he’s since bulked up to 230+ pounds and transitioned to linebacker, his range and fluidity is still ever-present. The Butkus Award winner, as the nation’s top linebacker, possesses all the quality traits you look for in a dominant off the ball defender. Simmons roams sideline to sideline with the best linebacker prospects in recent memory. His mobility is elite for a man his size, and his positional flexibility makes him a near-dream prospect.
Cons: Simmons does not have many negatives to his game, however, he is not perfect. While he may have originally been a safety, and is still capable of covering the back-end at times, he’s had his struggles working in zone schemes. While he has the length to extend and shed blocks, he tends to rely heavily on shooting gaps and outrunning the line.
Draft Projection: Top 5-10 (See Mock Draft Here)
Isaiah Simmons should be a top-10 lock come late April’s draft. In an NFL that is so predominantly matchup based, Simmons is the perfect puzzle piece. He can seemingly work in any scheme when placed in the correct position. Teams will look to use Simmons as a matchup based player, trying to eliminate big-bodied tight ends and slots receivers. When breaking down Simmons’ tape, I see a larger Derwin James and a more mobile Shaq Thompson. We may revisit Simmons’ draft projections at this time next year and wonder why he wasn’t the first defender to hear his name called in the 2020 NFL draft.