The New York Giants hold the fourth overall pick in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. The Giants finished 4-12 this past season and fired head coach Pat Shurmur. The Giants kept general manager Dave Gettleman and hired a new head coach, Joe Judge.
Joe Judge has expressed how important he considers versatility to be during his introductory press conference. When evaluating draft prospects in New England, Judge stated that he studied every prospect as “as a player and an athlete.” Judge continued, “I didn’t look at them as a receiver, I didn’t look at them as a tight end, I didn’t look at them as a linebacker… I’m used to looking at things from a big picture perspective on players in terms of what they bring to the team as a whole.”
Many Giants fans have taken this quote, amongst others, and applied it to one draft prospect in particular: Isaiah Simmons. The Clemson defensive star has played a multitude of positions at an elite level and is set to be a top pick in the upcoming draft.
Isaiah Simmons Is The Definition Of Versatility
In 2019, Isaiah Simmons played 738 snaps. 106 of those snaps were on the defensive line, 239 of them in the box, 256 of them at slot cornerback, 7 of them at wide cornerback, and 130 of them at deep safety. Simmons is a positionless player that lined up all over Clemson’s top-tier defense
Pro Football Focus explained how vital Isaiah Simmons’s versatility will be in an NFL defense:
The linebacker position has evolved unlike any other over the past decade. In 2009, defenses had five or more defensive backs in on only 35.7% of plays. This season, that number is 58.0%, and it’s only climbing. What was once a position with three starting slots available has dwindled to two, and in some defenses, to only one. -Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus.
With a decreased usage of box linebackers in NFL systems, coverage ability has greatly increased in importance. NFL teams opt for nickel and dime packages to get as many defensive backs on the field as possible. Having Isaiah Simmons on the field is like having both a linebacker and a defensive back on the field.
Isaiah Simmons is a FREAK. Insane that a 6-4, 230lb linebacker can do this. He has game-breaking speed and sticky man-coverage for his position. A name to keep an eye on ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft. #Giants #GiantsChat #GiantsPride pic.twitter.com/8t7M1RzTui
— Anthony Rivardo (@Anthony_Rivardo) January 3, 2020
Isaiah Simmons is exactly what Joe Judge wants. He is not just a position, he is an athlete that can play any position. He is excellent in coverage, allowing only 6.0 yards per target (PFF). Simmons can make an impact as a pass-rusher with 7 sacks in his junior season. And Isaiah Simmons is no push-over in run defense, totaling 97 tackles and 14.5 tackles for loss in 2019.
The Giants would need to make the most of Isaiah Simmons’s rare versatility and athletic ability. He is not a player you fit into a scheme. Simmons is a player you build a scheme around. He can move all over the place and make plays from anywhere. This quote from Joe Judge is exactly why the Giants should draft Isaiah Simmons:
Don’t try to shove round pegs into square holes. Figure out what you have. Let them play to their strengths. -New York Giants head coach Joe Judge.
Isaiah Simmons Draft Stock
Most likely, if the Giants want Isaiah Simmons, they will need to take him with the fourth overall pick. There is a chance they could land Simmons if they trade back. But with inside linebacker being such a scarce position in the NFL, there will be a high demand for Isaiah’s talents and versatility.