It would be an overstatement to say that all eyes are on Jeffery Simmons as the 2021 NFL season approaches.
It is clear, though, that people are paying attention to the Tennessee Titans’ defensive lineman. In the last couple days, he has been mentioned as one of the league’s top young players and a leading candidate to earn his first Pro Bowl invitation this season.
“I know (the coaches) expect a lot out of me,” Simmons said recently. “Personally, I’m accepting that role coming in, looking to have a great year. Whatever I can do to help the team win and every down, every snap, give it my all.”
To date, he has appeared in 24 games (22 starts) and has been credited with 89 tackles, five sacks, five tackles for loss, one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries. He tied for eighth on the team last season with 49 tackles.
SI.com’s Conor Orr included Simmons on his list of 10 players who could make their first Pro Bowl appearances.
Orr said, in part:
Most incredibly, Simmons was among the league leaders in net yards over average against the run, which, when accounting for snap percentages and actual time on the field, was astounding. None of the three players who finished in front of him played anywhere close to 75% of their teams’ snaps, yet Simmons held a -0.71 yards average over the course of almost 900 snaps. So, the Titans could count on a run against them going for almost a yard less when Simmons was on the field.
Simmons took a big step in Year 2 after getting a late start as a rookie due to an injury he suffered while training for the draft. He recorded three of his five career sacks in 2020, finishing second on the Titans in QB hits with 14. This is a bit of an under-the-radar selection as Simmons has yet to become a household name, but he's trending toward lofty status.
Anyone who has seen Simmons play regularly over the past two seasons already knows that he is someone worth watching at all times.