With the all-world speed that he displayed in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, the Jaguars may have lost a shot at drafting Isaiah Simmons.
I watched Clemson defensive star Isaiah Simmons run the 40-yard dash several times, making sure I saw what was already apparent as he sprinted down the field to a blistering tune of 4.39 seconds. The Jacksonville Jaguars had better rethink their draft strategy if in fact Simmons, who can play outside linebacker and safety as the player the team has pinpointed as a selection with the ninth pick in the NFL Draft.
Simmons won’t be available that late in the selection process. Forget about good fortune and how the NFL Draft played out last season, having the Raiders and Giants pass on Josh Allen only to see him land in Jacksonville’s lap. Simmons is a hybrid player who won’t get past the Carolina Panthers with the seventh pick. Ideally, he will be gone among the first five selections.
"“To place the number into context, only one linebacker, Shaquem Griffin (2018), has run faster than Simmons since the NFL began reporting official combine workout numbers in 2006,” writes Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report.“Griffin weighed 11 fewer pounds than the incoming prospect. Simmons then shut down the workout, a la Deion Sanders back in the day.”"
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For teams needing a burst of adrenaline in their defensive scheme, Simmon is the perfect medicine. But where he plays, should he “fall” to the Jaguars is not known yet. The team could use him at either position. The problem with selecting Simmons is he does not fit the biggest need for his skill set, which is middle linebacker.
"“Lucky for Jacksonville, Simmons is the perfect type of player to take over for what Smith did and not only fill the void but perhaps do it even better than his predecessor did,” Williams adds. “He has the same hybrid type frame that breeds elite speed in the middle of the field to defend sideline-to-sideline against the run and pass and offers the versatility to move him around in the defense.”"
It’s a scary thing to see a player put together like Simmons is on the outside of the middle of the defense or trying to take the head off a wide receiver coming across the middle of the field. What Jacksonville needs is playmakers on both sides of the ball. He could turn out to be a Derwin James-type of a player.
That would help the team recover from the loss of Jalen Ramsey. While he is just one player, having that kind of impact will hopefully be a part of the missing puzzle pieces on this roster.
There are other areas of concern on this roster which the Jaguars could turn to if Simmons is off the board. There could also be a move to trade up and grab him before other teams have an opportunity. I’m not sure what kind of draft capital the Jaguars would relinquish to secure his services in April.