Detroit Lions NFL Draft: Isaiah Simmons a dynamic option at three

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

With the NFL draft officially commencing this evening, the Detroit Lions have the potential to add a game-changing player with the third overall pick.

If Detroit Lions General Manager (GM) Bob Quinn is unable to trade out of the third-overall pick in tonights NFL Draft, selecting Isaiah Simmons automatically improves the defense along with adding a much-needed dynamic playmaker to a defense lacking a superstar.

Trey Flowers is a tremendous talent, but other than Flowers, Detroit doesn’t have a big-time player on the defensive side of the ball.  They’ve added players in free agency but haven’t added a game wrecker.

Quinn added linebacker Jamie Collins who not only improves the linebacking group; he will instantly step into a leadership role amongst his peers.  Detroit also added nose tackle Danny Shelton, a career backup in Nick Williams. He was widely successful for the first time in his career last season, playing alongside arguably the best interior lineman in the league Akiem Hicks.  Anyone playing next to an Aaron Donald or Hicks with any type of talent should succeed with all the attention either player commands.

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The Detroit Lions also added Duron Harmon and Desmond Trufant.  Both will start in the secondary, so why not add a player like Isaiah Simmons, who can play as a safety, slot corner, outside corner, and linebacker.  He’s a ‘do it all’ talent that has a spot in any defensive scheme.

The knock-on Simmons is the fact that he doesn’t just play one position.  There have been rumblings that head coach Matt Patricia will shy away from Simmons due to the fact he is a hybrid type player, that isn’t precisely a Patricia-prototype player.  If Matt Patricia is such a ‘defensive guru,’ he needs to adapt his scheme to accommodate a player like Simmons.

Simmons is set to enter the NFL way of Clemson, where he spent 116 snaps as an outside linebacker, 299 as an inside backer, 262 as a slot corner, 132 as a free safety and 100 as a strong safety.  That’s absurd.

As you can see, Simmons is best used in the box, rolled up as a hybrid safety/linebacker.  He has so much upside and athleticism spewing out he’d be a dynamic pick for the Detroit Lions, but I’m not sold the Detroit Lions are willing to make a bold selection.  Detroit seems always to make the ‘safe’ choice and, in this case, rather than a player with an abundance of upside and not understanding exactly how to use him.

Linebackers are often asked to cover running backs who flare out of the backfield.  Jarrad Davis was atrocious last season in coverage; Collins serves as an upgrade in this area, imagine what Simmons can bring to the table on third down rolling up to the line of scrimmage and covering a running back.

He’s used to covering shifty slot receivers, being able to do that is a huge asset in today’s NFL, also covering backs like Aaron Jones and Dalvin Cook. They are as dangerous in the passing game as a rusher will help tremendously help this Detroit defense.  When head coaches and offensive coordinators create a game plan, they look for a mismatch to expose on the defense.  Simmons is the opposite; he’s a mismatch in favor of the defense.

Simmons ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL combine along with producing an impressive 39.0 verticle jump and 132.0 broad jump.  Last season with the Tigers, the junior made 104 total tackles, 16.5 of which we for a loss.  Simmons also defended eight passes, forced two fumbles and intercepted three passes along with compiling eight sacks.

Simmons is a player the Detroit Lions need to consider selecting if Chase Young is not available.  Jeff Okudah seems to be the hot name, he’s a tremendous player and a shutdown corner, but Simmons brings so much more to a defense with his overall versatility.  Okudah is the safe choice; Simmons is the aggressive choice and has the potential to make more of an impact on the defense.

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Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia need to stop worrying about where they will play Simmons because the answer needs to be everywhere, depending on the offense the team is facing that particular week.  Simmons is a superstar if used as a swiss army knife.  A game-changer, superstar, and future All-Pro.