2020 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Isaiah Simmons
School: Clemson University
Weight: 225 pounds
When you press play, the first thing you notice about Simmons is the burst. More importantly, the suddenness grabs your attention. From a dead stop, Simmons will accelerate with little to no effort. As a result, he improved his ability to make plays as a blitzer. Off the edge, Simmons will defeat a blocker by simply, beating him to the spot with twitch. Hip flexion also helps him turn and run in coverage or chase plays down from the backside. Misdirection plays do not deter him. Simmons’ ability to break down and rapidly recover ensures that he remains in the play.
Due his speed, Simmons quickly wraps and stops the target. In space, he will gator roll the opponent. Correspondingly, Simmons will arrive with enough force to pop the ball free. In essence, he thrives everywhere while making a play. The only room for improvement appear to be, using a bit more leverage when making the play. Pad level appears outstanding, but it could be lower.
With Simmons, his processing of stretch plays or pass routes helps him quick adjust. In addition, Simmons takes simultaneously smart and intriguing angles that capitalize on his natural talent.
Not too many times, you find a linebacker with the ability to cover tight ends and wideouts. Now, this isn’t a shallow drop. Simmons will line up 7-12 yards from the LOS. Meanwhile, he excels in the slot without help, hesitation or concern.
During the last draft, Devin Bush existed on the radar. The Raiders’ draft spot prevented them from making the move. On top of that, the team appears allergic to drafting a linebacker high. Yet, with a cavernous hole at the position, the team needs a playmaker there. One of the reasons that the defense looks lethargic and frankly abysmal is the dearth of speed at linebacker. If the Raiders draft Simmons, presumably in the middle of the first round, they immediately upgrade the position. His coverage skills should catch their attention.
With tight ends and backs destroying the heart of the defense, Simmons would ease those concerns. He lines up all over the field, regardless of down or distance. Additionally, Simmons’ speed makes him a force in the running game. Provided the Raiders keep their mid-first round picks, Isaiah Simmons makes sense there. The Raiders, for the better part of a decade, lacked true athleticism on defense. With the modern game emphasizing pace, a true, three-down linebacker would help the team. Look at the Vikings, who run a similar scheme, Eric Kendricks brings that speed and twitch to the defense. Simmons is more athletic.