Games Evaluated: 2019 Vs: Ohio State, Virginia South Carolina 2018 Vs: Syracuse
Report By: Jack Bourgeois
"Big" John Simpson isn't the quickest out of his stance but has decent agility for his size, and a strong base. The guard heavily relies on brute strength and wide frame to win at the point of attack but is severely lacking in terms of footwork, fluidity, lower body technique. His size covers up a ton of his athletic flaws, specifically his sluggish foot speed and inability to change direction on a dime. He's simply at the mercy of his size.
RUN BLOCKING: 7.25
Movement off L.O.S.: 8.00
Reach Block: 6.50
Pull & Block Outside: 5.75
Adjust In Space: 6.50
Use of Hands: 7.75
The run game allows Simpson to showcase that infamous power. He manhandles fellow 300 pounders on a regular basis with a highlight reel of destructive down blocks while pancaking elite run NFL caliber run defenders with ease. "Big" John is more likely to stalemate opponents near the line of scrimmage or drive them to the ground or even laterally, compared to driving them backward off of the line of scrimmage. Although his movement isn't outstanding due to his lack of active feet, he uses his leverage technique and play strength to turn defenders and open up huge run lanes. His hand placement is wide but consistent and inside leverage is a near-impossible task because of his frame and inability to beat opponents to the point of attack. He's proven he can pull and get into open space but it's not where his strength lies. Often does enough to redirect opponents tackling angles in the second level but when able to make contact in space against LB's and DB's it's devastating.
PASS BLOCKING: 6.88
Quick Set: 6.00
Protect Corner: 6.25
Footwork / Redirect & Slide: 6.50
Anchor / Reset Ability: 8.25
Handle Games/Stunts: 7.00
Hands / Punch: 7.25
Slow first step and quick set which forces him to absorb the rusher’s momentum and give up ground but never allows more a step or two backward before stonewalling defenders. Lacks mirror ability with his footwork and has a choppy kick slide when opponents are able to get to the outside but typically uses his powerful hands to keep the pocket clean. John will need to learn to sit lower in his pass set as he is often caught standing straight up and will be taken advantage of at the next level if not corrected. The one flaw in Simpson's game that his size and strength can't hide is his inability to recognize stunts and transfer his blocking responsibilities onto his tackle or center.
Consistency / Motor: 6.00
Toughness, tenacity, and attitude are what you want to see from an offensive lineman, and "Big" John is certainly not lacking in that category. His motor and effort are high output but short-lived and coaches shouldn't ask this guy to consistently be pulling across the line, out for screens, or into the second level on a consistent basis without expecting a decrease inefficiency.
His instincts are very good when it comes to reading a defender's movement but needs to work on his ability to diagnose stunts and blitzes. His technique improved from year to year but Clemson's blocking scheme could be described as basic. From one on one interviews with the Clemson product at the Senior Bowl, he doesn't seem to shy away from the challenge of learning new schemes and seems to spend as much time in the film room as he does in the weight room.
Size, strength, and the kind of power you rarely see from someone coming out of college. He is the true definition of a hog molly and mauler. John's ability to dominate opponents will instantly translate to the next level as a run blocker and bull rushers when pass blocking. His ability to displace defenders and open up rush lanes is easily top 5 in his draft class.
Slow out of his stance and struggles to get his feet turning after initial contact. He's not a liability as a pass blocker but isn't matchup-proof either. Speed rushers with a quick first step will have the advantage when shooting the gap and counters. Stunts and delayed blitz will likely be his downfall if not able to correct his reaction time. Pass blocking technique will need refinement in facets; from his feet to his hips, to his hands, there's plenty of room to grow.
The raw traits and intangibles are just waiting to be molded into a quality starter of an interior O-lineman. You can't teach big and John Simpson is a whole lotta big and is athletic enough to get the job done on a regular basis. If asked to play right away, he's going to be a solid addition to any offensive lineman but will be far more effective in a run-heavy, downhill, power scheme that allows him to impose his will on opposing defensive lineman. If able to clean up his pass set and mechanics, Simpson could be a quality starter for the next 8-10 years in the NFL. Draft Stock: Day 3 Team Fits: Jaguars, Broncos, Raiders Pro Comp: Richie Incognito