Updated Feb. 11, 2020
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
For months, Clemson linebacker/safety Isaiah Simmons has been considered to be one of the top prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft. Simmons strung together two excellent seasons to close out his collegiate career, helping the Tigers win a National Championship and being the best player on their defense in 2019 when they returned to the Championship game. While Simmons is known to be a freaky athlete, he is not a cut-and-dry evaluation, according to numerous teams. Some team sources have questions about Simmons' fit in the NFL, and as a result, his projections vary from team to team.
The issues with Simmons' fit for some teams are heightened by teams that run a 3-4 defense. They have concerns about Simmons holding up on the inside in that scheme, and as a result, they see some limitations on how he would be used. Hence, they have some reseravations about how high he can be placed on their boards. Other teams that run a 4-3 scheme, see him as a Will linebacker and superb sub-package player.
"Isaiah Simmons is a tricky dude to do, and honestly, he's been my toughest report this year," said one national scout whose team runs a 3-4. "There are some mixed reviews on him. He's a super elite sub-package guy; he doesn't have a home in other sets. He's too tight in the hips to play safety. In a 4-3, he's a Will. In a 3-4, he's not a Mo. He's really like an elite nickel linebacker type. In some ways, he reminds me of Haason Reddick."
Even with some 3-4 teams seeing a more difficult fit for Simmons, he is safe to be a top-20 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. In surveying sources, one felt he could go high in Rouund 1. A few said late in the top 10, and a few said in the No. 11-20 range. Team contacts say who Simmons is a good kid and has no issues off the field, so if he were to slip into the teens, it would be because of the scheme-fit questions.