Report By: Cody Manning
Games Evaluated: 2019 Vs: Ohio St., Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia Tech
Q.A.B. / C.O.D.: 8.75
Playing Speed: 8.25
Position Versatility: 9.00
His quickness in open space is outstanding and very smooth in transition when he changes direction. Has the ability to bend around tackles and can stretch out his body to the fullest to get a deflection. Ridiculously explosive and can close space in a second. He can end plays very quickly with his speed. Can flip the switch in a second and has the ability to be one of the fastest players on the field. Always stays up and hardly gets knocked off his feet. Does a good job tracking balls with eyes. He is a defensive weapon. Was deployed all over the field as a linebacker, in the slot, as a safety, and even as an edge rusher.
PASS RUSH ABILITY: 6.94
Initial Quickness 9.00
Rush with Leverage 6.00
Pass Rush Moves 6.00
Pressure Consistency 6.75
Initial burst allows him to get a jump on the lineman which can give him the advantage on the rush. Needs to use his length to his advantage more often by looking to extend his arms it will help his ability to keep off blocks. Needs to expand his repertoire as a pass rusher, because at this point he depends on his athleticism to get to the quarterback rather than on moves or technique. His athleticism allows him to disrupt and get pressure more often than not. Needs to develop more consistency in this aspect of his game.
Pass Drops: 8.00
Coverage Awareness: 8.00
M/M Coverage: 8.25
Zone Coverage: 8.00
Relatively comfortable in his pass drops and understands his assignments. Does get lost at times looking to make a play rather than playing assignment sound football. He trusts his instincts and keys in on his man or the quarterback so that he is in a position to make a play. He is very fluid when he flips his hips and can mirror the TEs and the majority of WRs downfield. He understands where he needs to be and his quickness allows him to get to the ball, but at times he can lose his man when working through zones.
AGAINST THE RUN: 7.65
Play with Leverage: 6.75
Stack and Shed: 7.00
Run at Him: 8.25
Runs Away: 8.75
Has the length to get leverage against blockers but isn't consistently doing it because he depends too much on his athleticism. When he does use his length to his advantage he is great at shedding but needs to do it more consistently. He can fill gaps very quickly with his closing quickness. Sideline-to-sideline speed that will keep him on the field for all 3 downs. He can close down speedsters. He isn't afraid to come up and lay the wood but his overall technique does need some refinement.
He plays hard, stays on the field, doesn't give up effort when the team was up big and will hit someone. In 43 career games he produced: 237 tackles (66 solo), 28.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 4 INT, 20 PD, 1 FR, 6 FF, and won multiple awards for his playmaking ability. He gives maximum effort throughout the game consistently. He does his best to run down players for the tackle.
His instincts allow him to game-changing plays because of his ability to diagnose plays quickly he can jump routes or fill downhill hard on run plays. Has a reputation for his preparation during the week and in the weight room and it shows on the tape. Does a great job at locking on his assignment and won't let any distractions make him lose focus.
He is a versatile athlete that allows his coordinator to use him all over the field. He has the frame to be a linebacker but has enough quickness that he could play as a safety or in the slot. He is a sideline to sideline player that has enough quickness to chase down the ball carrier. He uses his length to his advantage to shed lineman and to get in passing lanes. He can take up space when in zone coverage while showing the ability to flip his hips to run side by side with his man. He can track the ball down to get the PBU. He can be very effective against elusive quarterbacks as a spy because of his explosiveness will allow him to close down space to get the tackle. He has a chance to become a defensive weapon at the next level if he continues his development.
He needs more development if he will be used as a versatile weapon because at times he will look lost because he doesn't have tons of experience in the positions that his coaches put him in. This can lead to bad decision making and he takes himself out of plays by being in the wrong spot which allows chunk plays. His tackling technique needs work, he doesn't breakdown and look to explode through the runner. He tends to leads with his shoulder and tries to jump into the ball carrier. This can lead to easily broken tackles. He also needs to expand his pass rush moves because he depends on his athleticism to get by the blocker. He does this at times when tracking down the ball carrier. He will try to go around a lineman to get the tackle instead of using his long arms to his advantage to lock onto the lineman to shed them.
Simmons has the athletic profile that will allow him to play at the next level but the biggest question is how teams will use him? He has the ability to be a playmaker and can be used all over a defense. Teams could want to add some bulk to his frame while keeping his speed to stay at the linebacker position and some could want to line him up as a strong safety that can play in the box throughout the game. I think his best fit would be to be used as a defensive weapon and let him flourish. He can be lined up in multiple positions and that can give offensive coordinators a headache to deal with. At worst, he is a linebacker that can excel due to his sideline-to-sideline speed and coverage ability that allows him to be on the field at all times. But as he showed against Ohio St., he can line up as a deep safety and use his quickness in open space to close in on an interception. He will be an impact player in Year 1 if defensive coordinators don't want to just stick him in the box and let him play all over. He has All-Pro potential by Year 3.