When Arizona Cardinals first-round pick Isaiah Simmons was going through the 2020 NFL draft process, draft analysts struggled with his best positional fit as a pro. Some suggested he had a safety’s skill set in a linebacker’s body, while others felt the closer he is to the line of scrimmage, the better.
All that matters now is where the Cardinals, who selected Simmons eighth overall, will play him in 2020. According to coach Kliff Kingsbury, Simmons will focus on just one position.
“Our thought process, is if he is really able to focus on one position, having the flexibility to still move around, but really focus on one, what does that look like?” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday, via ESPN. “And the sky can really be the limit.
Remember, Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said Simmons will play linebacker after the pick was made.
“That’s why we were so excited about him,” Kingsbury said. “The athleticism is through the roof. But his ability to play different positions and not really have any chance to focus on one, we just think the sky can be the limit for what he could be if we really lock him into one position the majority of the time.”
Simmons dazzled at the 2020 NFL Combine when he ran a 4.39 40-yard dash and leaped 39 inches in the vertical jump. His athletic traits are rare when considering his 6-4, 238-pound frame. Draft analysts dubbed Simmons a ‘defensive weapon’ shortly after his combine performance; Cardinals GM called him an ‘eraser.’
Simmons finished the 2019 college football season with 104 tackles, eight sacks, three interceptions and eight passes defended.
Expectations are high for Simmons in 2020. He ranks second behind only Washington’s Chase Young as the most likely winner of 2020’s Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Simmons is going to fill the stat sheet in a very unique way for the Cardinals, and there will be some highlight-reel moments along the way in the desert this fall.