2. Isaiah Simmons
The linebacker position has long been neglected by the NY Giants. The last impactful linebacker that the team had on its roster was Antonio Pierce and he retired over a decade ago. Giants fans have been clamoring for the team to draft a talented linebacker for years and perennially are disappointed by the Giants’ failure to do so.
That could change this year if the Giants opt to select Isaiah Simmons out of Clemson University with the fourth overall selection of the draft. Simmons has been described by many as a unicorn at the linebacker position. His freakish athleticism could make him the first linebacker drafted by the Giants in the first round since Carl Banks in 1984.
Simmons, who is a converted safety, possesses the versatility to play a number of positions at a high level. This past season at Clemson, he regularly played cornerback, linebacker, deep safety as well as playing on the defensive line.
He played all of these positions with frequency and did so at an elite level for the Tigers. In doing so, he exhibited off-the-charts football IQ that is needed to understand what it takes to excel at such a variety of positions on the field.
In addition to his intelligence, Simmons is a high-motor player with a giant wingspan. He possesses elite speed and athleticism for a player with a 6’4″ and 230-pound frame. As a result, he has excellent sideline-to-sideline tackling ability, with the propensity to make bone-jarring hits on the ball carrier.
Drafting Simmons would provide the Giants with a player who is excellent against both the run and in coverage. His coverage ability is less like a linebacker and plays more like an elite cornerback or safety. As a result, Simmons has the ability to cover any wide receiver, running back or tight end on the field with great competence.
Simmons is also an excellent blitzer who has great natural instincts to go with his athleticism and abilities. If selected, the Giants could use him at the MIKE, SAM, nickel linebacker or strong safety positions as their defensive scheme dictates. Having a player with that type of versatility would open up the playbook for new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.
While it is difficult to find a comparable professional player who has a skill set that is similar to someone as unique as Simmons, the two that have drawn comparisons are Lavonte David and Deone Bucannon. Although in both instances, Simmons is projected to be much better than either player.
Simmons seems like the slam dunk choice for the Giants with the fourth pick. The only reason that should dissuade them from selecting such a game-changing player would be if someone offered a trade in which they received significant draft capital in return.