Cardinals Select Isaiah Simmons With No. 8 Pick in NFL Draft

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The Arizona Cardinals selected linebacker Isaiah Simmons with the 8th pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Simmons grew up in Olathe, Kansas, and attended Olathe North High School where he played wide receiver and defensive back. Simmons was redshirted during his first year at Clemson in 2016. He then played 13 games at safety as a freshman before converting to linebacker for his sophomore and junior seasons.

Simmons had a breakout campaign during his junior year, as he racked up 104 tackles (16.5 for a loss), eight sacks and three interceptions. He helped Clemson post a 3-0 record in ACC Championship games and was part of the Tigers’ 2019 National Championship team.

Well schooled in Dabo Swinney’s pro style defense at Clemson, Simmons will be a starter during his NFL rookie season. Simmons headed into the draft with 6.5 as the over/under total on his draft position prop at William Hill.

Here’s why SI’s Kevin Hanson ranked Simmons as the No. 4 overall player on his big board:

As Simmons says, he "just play(s) defense." The converted safety won the Butkus Award, given to the nation's top college linebacker, but he played 100-plus snaps at five different positions in 2019. A modern-day hybrid defender, Simmons ran a sub-4.4 in the 40 at 238 pounds and has the ability to impact the game from a variety of roles.’

2019 stats (Junior; Clemson): 67 solo tackles, 104 total tackles, 8 sacks, 3 INT (15 games)

2018 stats (Sophomore; Clemson): 53 solo tackles, 88 total tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 TD (15 games)

2017 stats (Freshman; Clemson): 27 solo tackles, 45 total tackles, 1 sack (13 games)

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