DB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson*

6’4” – 230 lbs.

Redshirted in 2016, spending time on the school’s track team as well (long jump). Rotated into the defense as a safety over 258 snaps the next season and ended up with 45-3.0-1.0 and six breakups. Started fourteen games at safety the following year and posted 97-9.5-1.5, with seven breakups and a pick-six. Listed at linebacker this past year and totaled 102-16.0-8.0 with seven breakups and three interceptions before declaring for the draft. Tall, lanky player who is a little bit thinner than you’d like in a linebacker, but who has ideal size for a safety. Despite being listed as a linebacker, is more of a swiss-army knife for the Tigers who can clearly handle a lot of varied responsibilities. Often lines up opposite slot receivers and will shade over bunches in zone looks, even taking some snaps as more of a cornerback; more like a nickel defender than a box linebacker, although he does play in that capacity at times as well. Looks smooth in coverage, with relaxed technique and good change-of-direction skills. Plays with a conservative temperament, keeping the play in front of him and limiting yards after the catch. Plant-and-drive skills are good; smoother than he is explosive, but times his approach well. Overall route recognition skills are adequate; doesn’t get caught out of position often. Looks comfortable carrying opposing targets down the field into deeper zones. Would like to see him clean up some elements of his technique a little bit; for example, will turn all the way around instead of into a receiver at the stem, and could be more consistent about using his hands to feel routes. Looks very smooth bending an arc to the passer when rushing in blitz packages. When defending against the run, demonstrates good patience to read keys and flow toward the ball, with solid angles in pursuit; many of his tackles for loss came by closing from more of a nickel look. Able to extend his arms and lock out opposing blockers, but tends to rely on his athleticism instead of physicality. Looks pretty physical when attacking opposing tackles from more of an outside linebacker look, although his anchor strength appears just adequate and wasn’t asked to set the edge very much. Length gives him an impressive tackling radius, although he can occasionally lapse into hitting opponents instead of using his technique to wrap. One of the smoothest, most productive, and most versatile prospects in this year’s draft class, he will enable a pro coordinator to get creative with their defense; being well-suited to the modern game, looks likely to come off the board within the top ten picks or so.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: