With the hype surrounding Jeffrey Okudah and Chase Young, I think Detroit Lions fans are overlooking a valuable prospect that could really help the defense.
Linebacker/safety hybrid players are becoming more and more popular in the NFL. Personally, I think one of these guys would fit well in the Detroit Lions defense.
We’ve already have a whiff of a hybrid player in Miles Killebrew. Obviously, he’s not the primary man for this position. But he’s shown flashes of what good can come out of having a hybrid player.
Out of all the top ranked prospects in this upcoming draft, Clemson LB/S hybrid, Isaiah Simmons, seems to be getting overlooked the most, and I really don’t know why.
In Simmons’ first three seasons at Clemson, he played the strong safety position. This past season however, the coaching staff moved him to a linebacker/safety hybrid role. This proved to be beneficial for both Simmons, and the Tiger defense.
The redshirt junior recorded 104 total tackles and eight sacks this past season, which is six more than he had in 2018.
Despite moving to a more run-supporting role, Simmons’ pass defensive stats actually improved. He ended the season with three interceptions which is two more than he had in his sophomore campaign. Simmons also had eight pass deflections, which is an improvement from his six in 2018.
Considering that the Detroit defense needs help everywhere, it wouldn’t hurt to kill two birds with one stone by drafting Simmons.
The linebacker position is definitely a red flag for the Lions. Linebacker Jarrad Davis has shown signs of being a good linebacker, but consistency is the big question mark for him, especially in pass coverage.
Rookie Jahlani Tavai was actually a pleasant surprise for Detroit considering where they drafted him at. But it’s only been one season, we’ll see if he can keep it up in 2020.
Don’t even get me started on the strong safety position. With the trading of Quandre Diggs this past season, that position immediately became a liability. Rookie Will Harris struggled in his rookie season, never being able to secure the starting role over aging veteran Tavon Wilson.
Isaiah Simmons would be a great addition to the Detroit Lions defense. Standing at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, he’s well capable of being a linebacker. Plus, he’s been a safety his whole career until this past season, meaning that he already has the intangibles to play the safety position as well.
Because of his unnaturally long wingspan, he has a huge tackle radius. That may not sound important, but when football is game of inches, every little thing counts.
His long arms make him an excellent block-shedder as well. He’s already good at getting the first punch on blockers. You add on the fact that when he extends his arms, the blocker can barely even reach him.
If Simmons can’t beat you with size, he’ll just beat you with speed. His gap shooting ability is off the charts because of his first step, and just his overall quickness and mobility. His more DB-like frame makes it easier for him to split gaps in the offensive line.
Probably the best trait of Simmons is his football IQ. He’s naturally good at reading his keys from being a SS for most of his career. He’s good at tracking the ball and anticipating plays. Rarely have I ever seen him over pursuit a play.
Isaiah breaks on passes exceptionally well, especially on routes crossing his face. He does struggle with looking in the backfield too much, which can cause him to be late getting into coverage. But something like this can be fixed with repetition and experience.
Isaiah Simmons is one freak of nature for sure. He’s definitely an anomaly that the Detroit Lions need to draft. His versatility would be huge for a struggling defense like the Lions.
With Detroit having the third overall pick, and no one really talking about Simmons, he’ll very well be available at the time the Lions draft. It’s just a matter if Detroit will pull the trigger or not.