ESPN analyst calls Isaiah Simmons a ‘most dangerous’ 1st-round NFL pick


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 (Photo: Brian Spurlock / USATODAY)
(Photo: Brian Spurlock / USATODAY)

One ESPN college football pundit isn’t as convinced as some that Isaiah Simmons is a safe bet for a NFL draft first-round selection.

That’s not to say Simmons won’t go as high as the top-5 on April 23, but ESPN analyst Cole Cubelic said on a recent company podcast that Simmons being a bit of a tweener on defensive positions could hurt for a top-level pick.

“I understand he sort of fits a lot of places, but where does he truly make an impact?” Cubelic said. “And if you’re taking a guy in the top-5, in the top-10, he damn well better impact your team somewhere in a serious way, and I have some questions that Isaiah Simmons might not be that guy. I think he’s the most dangerous pick in the first round that anybody’s talking about. I think he’s a very dangerous pick.”

Cubelic added that his criticism is solely based on projection and not Simmons' college accomplishments.

“As a college football player, I love Isaiah Simmons. I thought Brent Venables did an excellent job utilizing him. I thought he did an excellent job making plays. I’ve talked to scouts about this and I’ve had a few guys that say, ‘Hey man, I’m with you. Don’t put my name on it but I’m right there with you.’ I don’t see where he fits,” Cubelic said. “You’re telling me some of these flex tight ends in the NFL -- he’s going to be able to run with those guys and cover? You’re confident in him manning up Travis Kelce? ... Is he quick enough, fast enough, athletic enough to cover the slot, be it a flex tight end or a slot receiver? I think he’s physical enough to play the run close to the box, but can he do it for an entire season and can he hold up against NFL offensive linemen and NFL blockers?...Is he strong enough and powerful enough to be an every-down 3-4 outside rusher?...I don’t know if he’s that good of a rusher to do that...

“The thing that Isaiah Simmons does better than anyone else is line up all over the field. He makes plays at a lot of those spots. I get that...Whoever drafts him will not be able to get away with playing him off the ball as much as Clemson did.”

Cubelic says Simmons' comparison at the next level is less Derwin James (6-2 215), the former Florida State star and safety oft-mentioned with Simmons, and more Karlos Dansby, a former All-American linebacker who Cubelic played with at Auburn. Dansby (6-4 250) was a second-round pick who played in 212 NFL games with 193 starts.

(H/T The State)

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spacer Did he really ask if Simmons could cover a “flex” TE?
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