With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looking to find some replacements for older players, the draft is crucial. In this year’s draft, could a potential top 15 prospect with some red flags and a torn ACL be there at pick 39? Although projected to miss the entire 2019 season, is Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffrey Simmons worth the risk?
Even though the Buccaneers have stated that they will keep Gerald McCoy at age 31, they will be looking for his eventual replacement likely in this year’s draft. If they want to find a defensive tackle with “McCoy like” talent it would have to occur either at pick number 5 or with their second round pick. Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffrey Simmons could have some “McCoy like’ talent to him. Simmons was projected as a top 5-10 talent before tearing an ACL while preparing for the draft. Measuring in at 6’4” and 301 lbs., he has the “McCoy like” size as well.
After three seasons at Mississippi State while playing in 38 games and starting in 28 he amassed a total of 163 tackles with 32.5 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 7 pass breakups, 5 forced fumbles, 3 blocked kicks, and 2 defensive touchdown while gaining numerous accolades. Which included being a member of the SEC All Freshman Team and two SEC First Team honors. He was informed that he would not be allowed to participate in the NFL combine. Simmons has been given the opportunity to participate in limited interviews.
Simmons possesses the power and burst of a very disruptive defensive tackle. He has all of the tools to get past blockers and disrupt the quarterback. Simmons also displayed run stopping ability with his 163 tackles in just 3 season. He has all the tools to be a huge problem in the middle of the line for offenses to handle.
As he moves to the NFL, he will need to improve on his vision to see what is happening on the field and better react to it. With coaching he could become a great defensive tackle and could add depth and be an eventual replacement to McCoy.
He does have issue with his past red flags and now with a torn ACL. He is likely to miss all of the 2019 season, but is his talent and potential worth the risk for the Buccaneers to select him with the 39 pick? It comes down to when he is 100% healthy will his expected potential warrant making him a second round selection? Do the Buccaneers have too many other needs to use an early pick on a guy that wont play year one?
I believe that the Buccaneers have too many other holes to use an early second round pick on Simmons. With his injury, he will most likely will not see a snap next season. However, if he continues to slide due to his injury, expect the Buccaneers to be interested.