Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons was the Arizona Cardinal’s first pick of the 2020 Draft with the 8th overall selection. at 6′-4″ and 230 pounds, Simmons is a gifted athlete with a nose for the ball and explosive tackling ability. The defence has been on shaky ground for a few years now, and the Cards will be hoping Simmons will develop into the next level talent his athletic skills suggest.
A three-year player at Clemson, Isaiah Simmons amassed 28.5 tackles for loss, 16.5 in 2019, 11 sacks, and a total of 148 tackles. He has great sideline to sideline mobility and moves more like a defensive back than a linebacker. He has some athletic comparisons with Hassan Reddick, although he is on a much higher level than Reddick.
Isaiah Simmons: unicorn
With long arms, great tackling radius, incredible flexibility, and fluidity Isaiah Simmons is an athletic unicorn, but don’t sleep on this kid’s smarts. He has the football IQ to handle responsibilities at the next level and the competitive toughness and work-ethic that never quit.
Ben Solak said of Simmons: “Isaiah Simmons is simultaneously the most difficult projection of the 2020 NFL Draft, and one of the easiest. The easy bit is this: it will be extremely difficult for Simmons to not make impact plays at the next level. Players of Simmons’ size, length, and speed — on offense and defense, at all positions — are impact players almost invariably.
“Off of the performance he put on his final season of Clemson film, Simmons will be able to cover a unique blend of receiving threats, elite blitzing ability from Day 1, and is a potential solution to diverse backfield with running quarterbacks.”
It’s important that the Cardinals use Simmons to his strengths and don’t try to convert him to a box linebacker and limit his ability to use his smarts and athleticism to make impact plays all over the field.
Isaiah Simmons has the potential to be a game-changer for the Cardinal’s defence, and to remake the linebacker role in the NFL to attack the new breed of offensive schemes we are seeing. This is an exciting kid, who can grow into a great NFL player.