Changed 18 April 2020, 16:30 IST
“Everyone always asks me what position I play in. That’s the common question for me. I don’t put myself in a position because I literally do everything.”
In a recent Instagram live interview with ESPN talking about his own versatility, Isaiah Simmons can be arrogant to anyone.
However, anyone who has paid close attention to Clemson defender’s road to the 2020 NFL Draft knows that his confident assessment of his skill set is correct.
And he’s about to enter a modern-day NFL where camouflage has never been more important.
In this age, the way the game and the rules applied apply to the offense at risk.
Yet, with the athletes on the defensive side of the ball getting faster and stronger, the best offenses are those who excel at cheating, and the physical strength of the talent that breaks those games can be diminished.
The proof of his conviction was the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers’ Super Bowl LIV led by Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan, two bright offensive minds.
That is Simmons’ versatility, as the team that is fortunate enough to get him drafted will give his defense a weapon with which to turn the tables into their own disguise.
Monopoly talent is nothing new in the NFL.
Tiran Matthews’ acquisition of the Chiefs, who can play in any position in the secondary, was crucial to Kansas City’s first Super Bowl win in half a century.
Part of what made Aaron Donald the premier player in the NFL is that he won with his fast-passing ability, regardless of whether he was playing inside or on the defensive line.
Simmons, though, is one of the lesser of a true position players who has never seen the league.
A great physical specimen at 6ft 4in and 238lbs, Simson ran a 40-yard dash to the NFL Scouting Combine in just 4.39 seconds. He posted a vertical jump of 39in.
This strange athleticism allows Simmons to operate at every level of defense.
Listed in the draft class as a linebacker, Simmons fits the bill more than any modern-day player who can protect running backs and tight ends, and occasionally pick wide receivers.
What made Simmons special, however, was that Clemson also deployed him as the last line of defense on free throws, and he routinely displayed a sideline-to-sideline range when the cornerbacks were tested on the downfield route.
The Tigers also had the confidence to put Simmons on an island in the corner, with his ability to intercept eight passing passes and three interceptions in three to prove catches.
These numbers alone will be enough for a first-round consideration.
Although Simmons can drop a wrench in his ability to pass offense as a pass rusher. He was a nightmare when he attacked uphill and gained eight sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss last season.
So where do you put players who can influence every aspect of the game?
Putting him at Cornerback, where he consistently faced NFL receivers who proved elite in creating segregation could be too much of an ask and could not be put to good use of his skills.
Beyond that, however, the simple answer is no matter.
With his gift, Simmons has the potential to step up and become one of the NFL’s top linebackers in the immediate past. His athleticism and ball skills are enough to consider him a starting safety, and he will be comfortable working near the line of praise for solid safety or as a pass rusher beyond the edge.
It opens up a world of possibilities for the defensive coordinator that ends up coaching him, as Simmons can blitch the quarterback or drop coverage from almost every field field.
Offensive game planners focus much of their preparation on neutral, Donald Mac, and von Miller’s plans to neutralize and remove them from the game.
When they face position-Simonson, it seems impossible for him to do so.