Just days before the NY Giants are set to finish their preseason schedule against the New York Jets, Joe Schoen decided to make a rather bold trade to acquire Isaiah Simmons from the Arizona Cardinals.
The 25-year-old former first-round pick back in the 2020 NFL Draft gets a fresh start after spending the last three seasons in Arizona. With the Cardinals clearly in rebuilding mode and a team that may be a candidate for the No. 1 overall pick in 2024, the Giants were able to take advantage and pluck away a player many wanted the Giants to take in the 2020 draft. For the Giants' sake, they took Andrew Thomas and it worked out well for them.
Three years later, the Giants make the trade for Simmons, one we suggested back on May 8, and now they have both players from that draft class that can help make an impact on both sides of the ball. For the fans who might now know much about Simmons since he played almost 3,000 miles away in the desert, what should they expect?
Isaiah Simmons will remind NY Giants fans of Landon Collins this season
The last part is the one that will resonate with Giants fans the most since Collins was recently with the team back in 2022 and was a factor in why the Giants made the postseason for the first time since 2016; a team that Collins was also on.
When Collins first started for the Giants back in 2015, he was a hard-hitting safety who brought a ton of buzz coming from Alabama. He was a ball-hawk whose game looked more like a linebacker as opposed to being a safety, which is where the Giants ended up playing him more during the 2022 season.
While Collins remains a free agent and unsigned, which to us, is still a major surprise, the Giants have gotten a younger version of Collins with the addition of Simmons. Collins is 29 years old with eight years of experience in the league. Meanwhile, Simmons is just 25 years old and is still on his rookie contract entering his fourth year in the league. The Giants defense has a lot of youth and speed on it and having Simmons and his 4.39 40-time speed is certainly something that will be used in Wink Martindale’s defense.
Simmons is better in coverage than Collins was. Collins struggles in coverage, especially when he played safety primarily for the Giants and Washington Commanders - it was always considered the weaker part of his game. Collins though, was always better going up against the run, which was why he transitioned into a linebacker over being a safety. Simmons has struggled going against the run over his last two seasons despite being a strong tackler. This is where better coaching from the likes of Martindale can help with Simmons as far as not playing well against the run.
What Simmons will also be bringing to the Giants and Martindale’s defense is his ability to get after the quarterback, which the Giants need more of. In 2022, Simmons was the Cardinals third-best pass-rusher with four sacks, which coincidentally enough, the four sacks would have also been good enough for third on the Giants in 2022 and tied with Kayvon Thibodeaux.
But the difference between Simmons being on the Cardinals and the Giants defense is the immense depth that the Giants have. The Cardinals defense lacked pass-rushers in 2022, as they had a retiring J.J. Watt, Zach Allen and Markus Golden, a former Giant from a few years ago. Simmons being added to a defense with Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari, Bobby Okereke, Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams makes a unit that was already on the rise an even stronger one. Add in the fact that Deonte Banks, Tre Hawkins and Adoree' Jackson are looking strong covering on the outside, it will make the pass-rush of the Giants defense even stronger with their ability to lock down receivers.
Former Giants star linebacker and current gameday radio analyst Carl Banks was a fan of the trade and once said that what Simmons needed was really good coaching. Considering the fact that Simmons is now in a defense coached by Martindale and now has the NFL’s current Coach of the Year in Brian Daboll, Simmons is going to get the better coaching that Banks said Simmons needed and didn’t have on Arizona.
Having a younger version of Collins in Simmons, who has been given a fresh start in his career, and one who can bring a strong pass-rush to a defense that needs it, should only help the Giants get stronger and better in the 2023 season. This was a brilliant move from Schoen.