With the eighth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals selected Isaiah Simmons from Clemson.
More than anything, the Arizona Cardinals needed to improve its 32nd ranked defense from the 2019-20 season. Drafting the multi-talented Isaiah Simmons should drastically improve the Arizona defense in multiple ways.
Here are three ways that Isaiah Simmons will improve the Arizona Cardinals defense in the upcoming season:
He can play multiple positions
Despite being 6’4 and 238 pounds, Isaiah Simmons has lined up as a safety, inside linebacker, outside linebacker, cornerback, and slot corner.
Despite being recruited as a defensive back out of high school, Simmons’ primary position was linebacker. In 2019 at Clemson, he finished with 104 tackles, seven sacks, three interceptions, and a forced fumble.
The star athlete, who ran a 4.3 40 yard time, will have no issues covering opposing tight ends, who were an issue all season long for the Arizona Cardinals in 2019.
As a cornerback, he played over 250 snaps in the slot and wide position, and over 100 snaps at safety. Experts say his NFL comparisons as a defensive back are similar to Derwin James, one of the top safeties currently in the league, and one of the best safeties ever, Sean Taylor.
He can help Chandler Jones
Chandler Jones was the odd man out in the 2019 season, as he was essentially the only linebacker racking up all the sacks by himself.
With the acquisition of Simmons, he can ease the pressure from Jones needing to put in all the work getting to the quarterback.
With Simmons’ speed, he should be able to reach quarterbacks at an alarming rate. Despite having seven sacks in the 2019 season, Simmons and Jones could end up being a good linebacker duo.
He will make an immediate impact
Some draft picks do not always make an impact from day one. It took Kyler Murray a few weeks before he shook off his cobwebs.
However, the minute Simmons steps onto the field, his presence will be known. Vance Joseph will undoubtedly line Simmons up in different spots on the field during the same possession, so quarterbacks will have to keep their eyes on where he is at all times.