The New York Giants could draft Isaiah Simmons, but they need a coach who can match up with his diversity and extract the most value from him.
Some suggest that the Giants selecting Clemson standout defender, Isaiah Simmons, is a bad idea, based on the fact that an offensive tackle more essential. They might be right, but drafting Simmons plugs one of the best prospects into the defense instantaneously, and his ability to play multiple positions increases his value exponentially.
Now, the big reservation I have with Simmons is that his abilities must be unlocked by an equality creative defensive coordinator. The question is: Can Patrick Graham be that guy?
Considering what he did as a linebacker coach for Kyler Fackrell in 2018 with Green Bay (10.5 sacks), utilizing Simmons as a de-facto pass rusher on third downs and dropping back into coverage is how Graham should look to utilize the stud defender.
What can we take away From Graham’s time with the Miami Dolphins?
Last season, Graham coached a feisty yet self-destructive Dolphins defensive unit, and that was mainly due to their lack of roster construction and trading away Minkah Fitzpatrick mid-season. The defense was compromised by youth and inexperience, similar to the Giants in 2019.
However, some tendencies that we saw with Miami is that Graham utilized a diverse system reliant on blitzing and man-coverage. Per PFF, Miami blitzed on 35% of their snaps, which was the 7th highest rate in the NFL. On third-down, they blitzed 41% of the time, which is where Simmons can fill an irregular role — dropping back into coverage or using his elite speed to get after the quarterback.
Graham was extremely creative when employing blitz packages, utilizing linebacker and defensive backs to create mismatches and unpredictability. Delayed blitzes from a linebacker standpoint would match up well with Simmons and what he brings to the table.
It’s also important to note that Graham is a former Yale graduate, attesting to his intelligence and ability to adapt. This is a primary reason drafting Simmons fits the bill for Big Blue and why the probability remains high he will be their choice at 4th overall.