Wilson was asked the one player he would want to add to the Browns defense in the draft and the second-year linebacker responded with: “Simmons from Clemson. His versatility is insane.”
The Simmons that Wilson is referring to is Isaiah Simmons, who is expected to be a top 10 pick. He is a do-it-all type linebacker, stuffing the stat sheet while at Clemson. During the Tigers National Championship season in 2018, Simmons racked up a team-high 89 tackles, nine TFLs, seven pass breakups and three forced fumbles. He also returned an interception for a touchdown. He followed that up with 102 tackles — 16 for loss — eight sacks, three interceptions and nine pass breakups last season, winning the Butkus Award and being named an unanimous All-American and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Simmons also spent part of his Clemson career as a safety and showed an ability to rush the passer.
“Simmons is built for today’s NFL, and his role could change week to week, depending on the opponent,” said NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah told the Associated Press. “So with a guy like Isaiah Simmons, whether you want to list him as a linebacker or safety, I know you plug him into that defensive scheme and week by week you can deploy him in different ways depending on what the strength of your opponent is. … That’s why he has so much value.”
Mack Wilson a Big Piece for Browns at LB
Mack Wilson was a fifth-round pick of the Browns and outplayed his draft position in a big way. He played well enough that Cleveland felt comfortable enough parting ways with veterans Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey.
Wilson was forced into action after an injury to Kirksey, and the Alabama product performed admirably. In 14 starts, Wilson racked up 82 total tackles from his inside linebacker spot to go with an interception and sack.
While there were some rookie moments, Wilson’s athletic versatility established him as a key piece of the defense going forward, so much so that he earned $415,296 in performance-based pay from the NFL. That was the second-highest number, behind only Kansas City cornerback Charvarius Ward, who received $428,335.
Mack Wilson Willing to Make Shift
While Wilson played middle linebacker last year, there’s a chance he could shift to play outside LB in defensive coordinator Joe Wood’s system.
“As far as position-wise, he really didn’t say what I was going to play,” Wilson said on the Browns Working From Home series. “But he was like, ‘You’re interchangeable.’ I can play wherever, so I’m just going to go in, do whatever it takes to win, whatever position they want me to play, play it to the best of my ability and just work.”
The NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 23 and runs through Saturday April 25.