Arizona Cardinals: Top 3 major roles Isaiah Simmons may play in the secondary

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) catches the ball out of the end zone against
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) catches the ball out of the end zone against / Michael Chow/The Republic / USA TODAY
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Isaiah Simmons won’t be playing all over the field. Instead, the Arizona Cardinals 2020 first round pick will exclusively play in the secondary, but where?

The good news? We know exactly which position group Isaiah Simmons will play in next season. But we still don't know where Simmons will land. And if you look at different sources, you’re going to get different answers. 

However, there are two prevailing answers: nickel corner and safety. For example, if you’re to look at what the RotoWire staff said via CBS Sports, the answer is nickel corner. As for Jess Root of CardsWire via USA Today? Safety.

So now the question bodes: Where exactly might Isaiah Simmons end up on the Arizona Cardinals defense? Keep reading for a breakdown. 

Arizona Cardinals
Nov 27, 2022; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals defenders Budda Baker (3) and Isaiah Simmons (9) / Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY

3 roles Arizona Cardinals former first round pick can play in the secondary

1 - Nickel Corner

If I were to project Simmons’ starting spot on the Cardinals defense, it would be nickel corner. Right now, the Cardinals top corners without Simmons are as follows:

  • Marco Wilson
  • Antonio Hamilton
  • Garrett Williams
  • Christian Matthew
  • Kei’Trel Clark

We got one aging veteran who won’t be here long-term, and Williams, once cleared, will likely ease into the CB2 spot. That leaves Matthew and Clark. Matthew was uninspiring in 2022, while the 5’9 Clark is better suited for a role as a dime back/reserve corner. 

If the Cards take on a 4-3 or 3-4 base, you can expect Simmons to log a lot of playing time, which would necessitate perhaps a 3-3-5, 2-4-5, or in the case of a 4-3, a 4-2-5, with Simmons serving as the additional corner. While nickel corner is the best overall fit for Simmons, it’s by no means the only fit, and he could even fare better as a safety or in a hybrid role. Let’s explore them.