Giants HC Brian Daboll excited about ‘explosive, athletic’ LB acquisition

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons (New York Giants) walks off the field after their 25-24 loss against the Los Angeles Chargers
Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants pulled off a shocking trade yesterday, acquiring LB/S hybrid Isaiah Simmons from the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a seventh-round pick. Simmons possesses elite athleticism and versatility, making him an intriguing addition to Wink Martindale’s defensive lineup. When asked about the new addition, HC Brian Daboll expressed his excitement over acquiring Simmons.

Brian Daboll is excited by Simmons’ athleticism

Simmons, the eighth overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, came into the league boasting incredible athleticism. At the 2020 NFL scouting combine, Simmons ran a blazing-fast 4.39s 40-yard dash. His relative athletics score (RAS) was 9.97, making him one of the most athletic linebacker prospects to ever enter the NFL.

Through the first three seasons of his career, however, Simmons has failed to put it all together. But Daboll and the Giants are hoping to unlock the potential that they see within his athleticism.

“He could do a lot of different things. Explosive, athletic. That’s why he was picked where he was picked. Again, we’ll get him here and see how he looks and start teaching him our stuff, but excited to have him.”

Brian Daboll on Isaiah Simmons via Giants.com

How will Simmons fit in the Giants’ defensive lineup?

Throughout his career with the Arizona Cardinals, Simmons struggled to fit into their defensive lineup. The Cardinals would play Simmons at linebacker, safety, edge rusher, and even nickel cornerback. The expectation is that New York will view Simmons primarily as an addition to their linebacker corps.

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Big Blue has had a position battle at the No. 2 LB spot between Micah McFadden and Darrien Beavers this summer. Simmons will now enter the mix, competing alongside those two linebackers for a chance to be in the starting lineup. 

In 2022, Simmons played an all 17 games for the Cardinals, totaling 99 combined tackles, five tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, four sacks, seven pass breakups, and two interceptions, showing that he has the ability to do a little bit of everything.

Having had thin depth and a lack of coverage capabilities at the linebacker position all summer, Simmons will attempt to solve both of those weaknesses for the Giants. His athletic profile gives him the ability to strive in coverage and rush the passer, while his size and physicality allow him to impact the running game. 

Splitting his time between the linebacker and safety positions in Arizona, Simmons will be a valuable chess piece in Wink Martindale’s “positionless” defense in 2023.