Sun, 31 May 2020

Meet the Prospect: Isaiah Simmons

Detroit Lions
31 Mar 2020, 00:25 GMT+10

Name: Isaiah Simmons

Position: Linebacker

School: Clemson

Ht/Wt: 6-4/238

40-yard dash: 4.39

Bench: Did not bench

Vertical: 39.0

Broad: 132.0

3-cone: Did not run

20-yard shuttle: Did not run

How he fits: The Butkus Award winner as the nation's top linebacker, Simmons checks off all the boxes of what teams are looking for at the position in today's game with a rare combination of speed, length and toughness.

He's an ultimate Swiss Army Knife who can play linebacker, safety and even rush the passer from the edge. He can match up in the slot and run with the league's talented tight ends. Simmons notched 104 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, three interceptions and eight pass breakups last season.

The Lions have Tracy Walker, Will Harris and the newly acquired Duron Harmon at safety, but Matt Patricia uses a lot of three-safety sub packages on defense. Detroit also has an ever-growing linebacker room, but again, adding a young, dynamic player to that group makes a lot of sense when we're talking about trying to improve last year's second worst defense.

Key observations: Simmons lined up in the box on 299 snaps last year, along the defensive line on 116 snaps, covering the slot on 262 snaps and as a deep safety on 132 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. Simmons was productive in all those spots, earning the ACC Defensive Player of the Year Award.

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What they had to say about him: "That guy's a playmaker. He can do a variety of things at a very, very high level. He, obviously a couple years ago, when he wasn't even eligible, coming down the stretch, the last month of the college season, he was probably one of the most dominant guys on that team and they had a bunch of guys that got drafted last year.

"So he was on our radar. He's great, he can cover tight ends, he can play the run, he can play sideline to sideline. He's a very good blitzer. He's not a big body, inside linebacker, kind of take on blocks, but his athleticism, his range, his ability just to make plays in both the run and pass game was really intriguing. He's a high-level prospect." - Lions GM Bob Quinn

How he stacks up: Simmons is the consensus top linebacker available in the draft. He'd probably be the best safety, too, if he was listed as a safety.

Simmons comes in at No. 4 on NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah's list of the Top 50 players in this draft behind only Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young, Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown and LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. lists Simmons as No. 4 on his 2020 NFL Draft Big Board.

Scouts Inc. lists Simmons as the No. 6 overall prospect in the draft.

What he had to say: "I know years ago it wasn't good to be a position-less guy," Simmons said at the Combine. "But now it's become a benefit for me just because of all the versatility I'll be able to do, play linebacker, play safety, whatever it is, I feel like it just helps me out.

"Mentally I feel like there isn't anything I can't do. I played every position except for a nose or 3 technique."

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