Pro Football Focus apparently is not a fan of Arizona Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons.
Recently, Pro Football Focus put out its list of the top 32 linebackers in the NFL heading into the 2021 season and the last spot on the list is where they placed Arizona Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons.
PFF’s Sam Monson, who compiled the list, said Simmons “showed down the stretch that he was beginning to put things together at linebacker having played a brand of positionless football at Clemson.”
Monson is correct about this. Simmons spent half of the 2020 season on Arizona‘s special teams, and he would only be substituted into the game on defense for a few third down plays.
Young Arizona Cardinals linebacker should be able to improve his ranking in 2021
The lack of playing time for Simmons last year was due in part to rookies around the league not getting a normal offseason full of OTA practices, minicamps, and preseason games thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With Simmons not having a preseason, his lack of experience showed in the Cardinals’ first game of the 2020 season. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo immediately picked on the rookie Arizona linebacker in the first quarter on a short pass to running back Raheem Mostert that turned into a long score.
However, Simmons improved as the season progressed by spending more time on the field. He finished his first season in a Cardinals uniform with 54 tackles, two sacks, and an interception in seven starts.
The young linebacker has a ton of competition to leap over in PFF’s ranking by the end of the 2021 season.
Veterans like Bobby Wagner, Fred Warner, Eric Kendricks, and Darius Leonard are players that are only going to get better each year. Simmons, however, has the talent to crack the top 10 with more playing time next season and the fact that offseason preparation in the NFL is basically back to normal.
With Jordan Hicks on the trade block and rookie Zaven Collins sliding into a starting role, Simmons will be trusted with the leadership role inside the Arizona linebacker room in just his second season with the franchise.
With his ability to play anywhere on the field, there is no telling what kind of numbers Simmons can put up in 2021 if he can live up to the expectations he currently has.