Former Clemson star Isaiah Simmons appears to be a lock to be selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft, and most mock drafts have Simmons going in the top 10.
But not everyone is sold on Simmons as one of the best players in this year’s draft, which will be held later this month.
ESPN college football analyst Cole Cubelic recently appeared on ESPN’s college football podcast featuring Stanford Steve and The Bear and raised questions about Simmons’ NFL future.
“I don’t see where he fits,” Cubelic said. “You’re telling me some of these flex tight ends in the NFL he’s going to be able to run with those guys and cover? You’re confident in him manning up Travis Kelce? … Is he quick enough, fast enough, athletic enough to cover the slot, be it a flex tight end or a slot receiver? I think he’s physical enough to play the run close to the box, but can he do it for an entire season and can he hold up against NFL offensive linemen and NFL blockers? That’s a question mark that I have.”
Cubelic added that he has talked with NFL decision-makers who feel the same way.
“I’ve talked to scouts about this and I’ve had a few guys that say, ‘Hey man, I’m with you. Don’t put my name on it but I’m right there with you,” he revealed.
Simmons was the starting nickel/sam linebacker for Clemson in 2018 and 2019 but he also lined up all over the field, spending time at safety and at the line of scrimmage where he would rush the passer.
He led Clemson in tackles with 107, tackles for loss with 16 and sacks with 8 during his junior season before opting to turn pro and begin his NFL career.
But while Simmons excelled playing all over the field in college, Cubelic isn’t sure that versatility will translate to the next level.
“I understand he sort of fits a lot of places, but where does he truly make an impact?” Cubelic said. “And if you’re taking a guy in the top 5, in the top 10, he (dang) well better impact your team somewhere in a serious way, and I have some questions that Isaiah Simmons might not be that guy. I think he’s the most dangerous pick in the first round… I think he’s a very dangerous pick.”
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