Why Isaiah Simmons Will Shine at the NFL Combine

Morgan Thomas

The 2020 NFL Combine is here and one of Clemson’s best players from 2019 will be on display for all the scouts and the national media to see. 

Isaiah Simmons is not your traditional NFL linebacker and that may be the best option for teams looking to stop unique offenses like the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

He is a hybrid player with elite speed.

Simmons’ speed was evident in every game Clemson played last year. 

If an opposing player attempted to run to the outside or get to the sidelines, odds are that they were quickly met and put to the ground by Simmons. However, it wasn’t just his play on the field that earned his uncommon speed national attention.

 It was a video posted on social media by another elite Clemson player, running back Travis Etienne.

In just a few seconds, Simmons, who is 6 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than Etienne, sprints to a photo finish. 

Simmons posted a sub-4.4 40-yard dash time before he even played a down of football. During his redshirt freshman season, numerous reports were that he ran a 4.31 40-yard time in an unofficial timed event. 

He can jump higher than NBA players at the same height.

Last summer Simmons visited Top Speed LLC, a privately owned strength and conditioning center in his home state of Kansas. 

At that time he worked on his vertical jump and was able to break the gym record with a 11 feet 10 inches max jump. According to the Twitter post from the gym, that would have been the best jump at the 2018 NBA Combine for a player under 6-foot-4. Also of note, most players at the NBA Combine who were jumping that high were on average 6-foot-9. This means that Simmons is jumping as high as professional basketball players who are five inches or higher than he his.

He is a rare talent with experience at three positions.

College football fans and analysts understand better than anyone just how valuable Simmons was for the Tigers the last two years. 

Outside of his speed and jumping ability, he has a rare versatility to play three unique positions at any moment. 

Many times during the 2019 season, Clemson’s defensive coordinator Brent Venables would move him from slot to safety to linebacker in the same defensive series. Simmons was able to change positions with a very little amount of time or notice and continued to maintain an elite level of play at each position.

Regardless of what NFL team takes Isaiah Simmons, they will be gaining an elite hybrid player and one who could not only break records at the upcoming NFL Combine but also on the field of play.