Arizona Cardinals top rookie could mimic his predecessors

Isaiah Simmons could follow in the footsteps of two former Arizona Cardinals who excelled at the team’s “moneybacker” position

Back in 2015, the Arizona Cardinals invented a new position on the defensive side of the ball. The idea would involve moving a safety up closer to the line of scrimmage, essentially providing additional run support for the unit. Hence, the “moneybacker” was born, and second-year defender Deone Bucannon just happened to be a perfect candidate for the role.

It’s now five years later, and the Cards have acquired another player who could quite possibly be utilized in the same way that Bucannon was. Isaiah Simmons is a versatile performer who played at four different spots in college, including time spent at both linebacker and safety. Could a stint as a “moneybacker” be in the Arizona rookie’s future?

The Cardinals drafted Simmons to be a star at the inside linebacker slot, and have told the youngster to concentrate solely on that position. Unfortunately for the 22-year old, the squad has two quality veterans ahead of him on the depth chart at the current time. Jordan Hicks registered 150 tackles in his first campaign with the Cards last year, and newcomer De’Vondre Campbell racked up 129 stops in 16 appearances for the Atlanta Falcons in 2019.

Quite simply, Simmons is way too talented to be a backup. Coordinator Vance Joseph needs to find a way to get the 6’4, 238 pounder on the field as often as possible. Bucannon excelled in the role of “moneybacker”, so perhaps Simmons could do so as well.

In 70 career contests for Arizona, Bucannon was credited with 406 tackles. The 6’1, 211 pounder was a safety at Washington State University, but never played in the secondary during his NFL career. Bucannon spent five seasons in the desert, before leaving as a free agent in 2019.

Bucannon wasn’t the only member of the Cardinals to log time at the “moneybacker” spot. Adrian Wilson, a 6’3, 230 pounder who was with the organization for 12 years, was used in much the same way throughout his professional career. The former third-round draft selection recorded 894 tackles for the Cards, and received invitations to no less than five Pro Bowls.

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Simmons is a freakishly-talented individual who can help the defense in many ways. Following in the path of former Arizona players like Bucannon and Wilson would be a great way for the coaches to get him involved immediately. We’ll know soon enough what Joseph has up his sleeve for the draft’s eighth-overall selection.


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