Isaiah Simmons is a perfect defensive weapon for rising Arizona Cardinals

Isaiah Simmons, Clemson Tigers. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Isaiah Simmons, Clemson Tigers. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

Clemson defender Isaiah Simmons was selected by the Cardinals with the 8th pick on the 2020 NFL Draft. He can tremendously improve an already promising defense.

The Arizona Cardinals definitely made the right pick with the selection of Isaiah Simmons, the young prospect coming from Clemson. He’s come to join a defensive team that has already shown serious signs of promise, in an organization that made some of the smartest moves in free agency earlier this year.

Simmons is a special athlete and a do-it-all player, known primarily for his incredible versatility. In his college’s playing system, he was basically used all over the field, with snaps at linebacker, strong safety, edge rusher, and even as a cornerback.

His impressive physicality, speed, and most importantly, positional efficiency, made him one of the NCAA’s greatest coverage defenders and a key piece in Dabo Swinney’s Tigers.

This Swiss-army knife of a player is joining a squad that has greatly improved in all departments this offseason and with the signing of former Falcons ILB De’vondre Campbell, and the extension of OLB Devon Kennard, Simmons will undoubtedly create an immediate impact as a Cardinal. He will most likely be used as a companion to Campbell, and make use of his amazing ability to anticipate rush trajectories and cover wide spaces.

During his final season at Clemson, his performance was universally acclaimed, collecting staggering numbers in all departments — an ACC top-ten in tackles, sacks, and interceptions — and obtaining the Butkus Award, as the best linebacker in the nation. But of course, he’s no ordinary linebacker, as he has played all throughout the secondary as well.

But college versatility does not necessarily mean this will be the case in the NFL. There have been several cases of the jack-of-all-trades player sadly becoming master of none at the top level. However, this may not be the case with Isaiah Simmons; he has proven to be a threat anywhere in the zone, and with neck-breaking speed to boot.

He was one of only two in his position — together with Shaquem Griffin — to run the Combine 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds. He could quickly be one of the fastest linebackers in the league, a haunting menace with his 6’4 and 230 pounds frame.

Arizona’s top pick is exactly the kind of player that will work in the new configuration and the new mentality of the Birds’ system. He’s a fierce competitor, a strong personality on and off the field, and most crucially, the kind of gifted athlete that can take on all kinds of challenges. He is proficient against both rush and pass, a fast learner, and the kind of creative player that the Cards needed. He is the perfect weapon for a team on the rise.

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