2020 NFL Draft Scouting Report
Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
A three-year starter for Clemson. Began Clemson career as a safety in 2017 before transitioning to linebacker for 2018 and 2019. Named First-Team All-ACC and ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2019. Became school’s first-ever Butkus Award winner in 2019. Unanimous All-American selection in 2019.
Explosive athlete with huge upside. Agile, explosive and covers a tremendous amount of area on the field. Very quick, displays incredible speed from the backside and shows great ability in pursuit. An explosive hitter who jars the ball loose and causes turnovers. Gets depth on pass drops, stays with assignments and fluidly moves in every direction. Physical and mixes it up with opponents. Solid open-field tackler.
Best when he faces the action in coverage and has a tendency to faceguard. Slow out of his transition and struggles to stay with receivers out of breaks. Instincts are questionable at times. Lacks true linebacker size. Must develop a complete game.
Simmons was highly graded on my board since he played safety for Clemson as a redshirt freshman, and he’s done nothing but improve his game and prove himself as an impact defender. While he needs to improve his instincts and overall ball skills, his ability to force turnovers and cover huge amounts of area on the field will be attractive to defensive coordinators.
I would suspect that Simmons lines up as a weakside linebacker if drafted by a 4-3 defense or even on the inside of a 3-4 alignment. He possesses rare athleticism, comes with a great upside and will have a long and productive NFL career if coached properly.