Davis: Don't Let Simmons Roam In Secondary While Learning LB

Isaiah Simmons might have the tools to be a position-less player in the NFL, but Charles Davis doesn't think he should go down that road

The DA Show
March 02, 2020 - 11:04 am
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Isaiah Simmons, to the surprise of no one, dominated the NFL Combine, running a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash. Simmons weighs 238 pounds and was a do-everything defensive player for Clemson, leading some analysts to wonder if he could be a position-less player in the NFL. Could he be a combination of a linebacker, safety, and slot corner? Is that even possible in the NFL?

“It’s hard to find that package to be as much of a position-less player as we’re talking about with Isaiah Simmons,” Charles Davis said on The DA Show. “You’re requiring safety play, corner pay, linebacker play in order to be position-less, and here’s the other part, too: Okay, that’s great, he’s position-less, but there’s 10 other guys that have to make either adjustments or you got to fit around as well, right? So if he goes to this to this to this, do all the other guys have it in them to make the concurrent shifts that you’re not subbing people out?

“I don’t know that we have as big of a need for it in the NFL,” Davis continued. “We don’t have as big of a need for it in the NFL because you can still substitute better than you can in college. In college, you know how fast those offenses get to the line of scrimmage, how quickly they go. As fast as teams are playing in the NFL now, how many times have you watched a game and thought to yourself, ‘My goodness, they’ll never be able to sub anyone?’ Rare, right? So it’s just a little bit different there, and I think you can get other people on the field. You can make other adjustments. You can do things.”

Simmons was one-hundredth of a second off the Combine record for a linebacker, set by former UCF star Shaquem Griffin (4.38) in 2018.

“I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for an Isaiah Simmons and a position-less player, and that just tells you the advance,” Davis said. “A year ago, we wouldn’t have called Isaiah Simmons a position-less player. We would have called him a hybrid. Now we’ve gone from hybrid to position-less players, and we just continue to have different words to manufacture it. But the kid is an exceptional talent.”

So was Thomas Davis, who played linebacker and safety at Georgia before ultimately settling in at linebacker in the NFL.

“He thinks that’s where Isaiah Simmons needs to go, and Isaiah Simmons himself has said if there’s one spot you want to pin me to, I think it’s as a weak-side Will linebacker,” Davis said. “Ultimately, I think he’s a Will linebacker: run and chase, make a ton of plays. He can cover tight ends, running backs, certain bigger slot receivers, I think, would work quite well for him. But I don’t want him roaming around in the secondary at the same time he’s trying to get comfortable with playing outside linebacker and all these other things. Sometimes I think we get too carried away with what they can do rather than letting them do what they do really well early.”