New York Giants: What positions did Isaiah Simmons play in college?

Alexander Wilson
New York Giants, Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
Jan 13, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Clemson Tigers linebacker Isaiah Simmons (11) in the College Football Playoff national championship game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a look at what positions Isaiah Simmons players in college and what the New York Giants would be getting in the defender:

Clemson standout defender Isaiah Simmons is one player that has been heavily linked to the Giants this NFL draft season. His versatile attributes make him one of the most exciting prospects in this draft class, and adding him to a lackluster defense would immediately reinforce the unit and provide them with a playmaker.

However, harnessing Simmons’s potential could be problematic if they don’t have the right coaches in place. I believe that defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is the perfect guy for the job, considering his Yale education and incredibly unique and diverse scheme.

He plans to implement a 3-4 defense with a 4-3 base mixed in, utilizing heavy blitz rates from the linebacker and safety positions. This would fit perfectly with Simmons, who is reportedly telling teams he prefers to rush the passer on passing downs. While I can’t imagine a player of his size being a specific pass rusher, which would theoretically increase his price-tag down the road, a team like the Giants could use a blend of his skill-set.

In 2019, Simmons played 299 snaps at inside linebacker. As a traditional linebacker, he played sideline to sideline and also dropped back into coverage to cover tight ends. He was also stout against the run, earning 16.5 tackles for loss and 104 total tackles. His pass-rush aspirations came with eight sacks for Clemson last year, but he was also incredible in coverage, lining up to 162 times as a slot corner. He also played 132 Snaps at free safety, logging eight passes defended, and three interceptions.

His statistical output in each category is impressive, and that doesn’t even consider the 116 snaps he played at outside linebacker and 100 snaps at strong safety. He is the quintessential Swiss Army knife for any given defense, and Graham would have a field day utilizing his talents.

Now, this doesn’t belittle the concept that the Giants need to protect their investments and Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones, drafting an offense of tackle. Still, Simmons’ talents stretch far beyond that of a regular linebacker. He is a self-proclaimed “defender” and rightfully so, considering the number of snaps he played at five different positions as a 20-year-old player in 2019.