Name: Isaiah Simmons
NFL Grade: 7.08 ("Pro Bowl Talent")
Stats: Initially, Simmons was classified as a safety and transitioned to the nickel/sam linebacker position in 2018. In 2019, Simmons garnered the Butkus Award – given to the nation's top linebacker, becoming the first Clemson Tiger to do so. It came after a season that saw him record 102 tackles, 16 of which were for loss, and 8.0 sacks. Those 8.0 sacks were the most by far of his career and undoubtedly benefitted from the position change. He also nabbed three interceptions and forced and recovered a fumble. During his Tiger career, Simmons had 236 tackles, 28 tackles for loss, 10.0 sacks, four interceptions, five forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Though, Simmons didn't exclusively play linebacker even after the designation change. He was used all over the field and is an all-round defensive utility player that can fit just about everywhere. He was a consensus All-American in 2019 and was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
At the Combine, Simmons posted a position-group-best 4.39 40-yard dash. He leapt 39.0 inches in his vertical jump and 132.0 inches in the broad jump. On top of that, he looked incredible during the on-field workout.
Comments: Simmons' ridiculous Combine measurables were just the cherry on top to what many talent evaluators already knew about his capabilities.
"He has a bachelor's at three positions (slot corner, safety, linebacker) but could earn a master's degree in complex workload with a more focused and defined job description than 'jack-of-all-trades,'" writes NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein. "He can handle zone or man coverage from a variety of spots on the field, which gives defensive coordinators a chance to disguise blitz packages and exotic post-snap looks."
His freakish athleticism makes pretty much any game of his look like a highlight reel, playing all over the field. Looking at an actual highlight reel of Simmons' is baffling.
Simmons is extremely physical and he backs that up with excellent play recognition. He can read the quarterback from the box or from the slot – he's regularly assigned to both. Simmons may fit best at the NFL level as a weakside linebacker, but it would be doing him a disservice to solely use him there. He's an extremely unique player that bears really no NFL comparisons right now and should be within the top 10 players taken off the board come April.