20 October 2020

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Isaiah Simmons: Adaptable to the Cardinals Defense

Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons Declares for 2020 NFL Draft After CFP ...
Via Bleacher Report

Isaiah Simmons is a very fascinating player. At 6’4 and 235lbs, he has huge potential on the defensive end. Simmons can guard multiple positions, as well as be an anchor that can spark instant success for any defense. As the next chapter of his football career goes, the attributes that he possesses, will prove importance.

In the 2020 NFL draft, Simmons was picked 8th overall by the Arizona Cardinals. Many questioned how Simmons fell this far after winning the linebacker of the year last season at Clemson. In his final collegiate season with the Tigers, Simmons recorded 67 solo tackles and 8 interceptions. The lateral quickness and smoothness to his game is truly special. One of his most infamous games came against LSU in the National Championship game. Simmons had a feast, posting numbers of 10 tackles (2 of them for a loss) 3 pass breakups as well as 1 sack. Numbers are impressive, but on the big stage these numbers have a much more enhanced meaning.

Before the Cardinals drafted Isaiah Simmons, last year was rough for its defense. The Red Sea gave up the most yards in the whole league to Tight Ends. In the first game alone sparked the debate of this topic. On opening weekend, against the Detroit Lions, T.J Hockenson posted elite numbers in his first career game. The rookie was good coming out of college, but not this good. The Cardinals defense had no answer to guarding him, as Hockenson put up six receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown. That number of receiving yards was the most by a tight end ever in his first game. After this game, the problem got worse and worse. Ultimately by the end of the season, Arizona had over 1,000 receiving yards allowed against tight ends. When the draft came along, the Cardinals may have got an answer to solve the problem.

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Lots and Lots of Versatility

Simmons, offers tons of ability on defense. He can play linebacker, he can play strong safety as well as being a pass-rusher. During his final season with Clemson, Simmons played over 100 snaps at 5 different positions. Regardless, the linebacker position is his calling card. He racked up an amazing 104 total tackles in 15 games. Many of these are often chasing down a runner or making the right rotation to get to whoever has the ball. In a game against Virginia in the 4th quarter, it was 3rd down and 1. There was a halfback option up the middle and there seemed to be daylight but lone behold, Simmons was aware and stopped him before he could get the first down. His athleticism at the linebacker spot is incredible and unmatched.

Even if he plays at one spot, he is so athletic to where if you put him in at a position like defensive end, the pass-rush would be insane paired with pro-bowler Chandler Jones. The former linebacker of the year has quick hands and great movement of his feet. The hands can get him by the offensive guard or tackle and his feet can almost tip-toe around his man and get to the quarterback for a sack. Simply the thought of Jones and Simmons, coming off the edge is scary. His versatility to play strong safety, has also proven successful. Simmons had 8 interceptions in his final year and can read the offense extremely well for his position. Simmons is the perfect jump start to rejuvenate a discombobulated Cardinals defense.

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