Updated Sept. 13, 2018
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
A couple of years ago, many evaluators and coaches felt that Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon was one of the best prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft. Mixon slid to the second round, however, because of his off-the-field issues and being a very controversial player from a video of him punching a woman while at Oklahoma. The 2019 NFL Draft could have a similar debate, as sources feel that Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons is one of the most talented prospects and his off-the-field issues could weigh him down. However in speaking to some team sources, they feel good enough about Simmons off the field that they plan to advocate for him in pre-draft meetings.
At the end of his time in high school, Simmons got involved in a street between two women and it was caught on video - see below. In the video, Simmons is seen throwing and landing multiple punches on one of the women. One could argue that tape is as bad as, and maybe even worse than, the Mixon tape. Since that incident, Simmons has not had off-the-field issues while being an excellent player for Mississippi State. Multiple scouts have told me that Simmons has a top-20 skill set. Thus, where he goes in the 2019 NFL Draft is fluid and will be up for debate. Here is what one team source said about Simmons:
"That video is going to be shown so many times, and people will bash [Simmons] without knowing him. If you draft him, it's one of those things you have to be prepared for knowing that a backlash will come. They see it's a woman getting hit, and they will bash the kid without knowing him. The staff at Mississippi State has only positive things to say about him. They say he's a good kid who made a mistake and will be all right. I also know people from his hometown that vouch for him. I know when it comes down to me, I'm going to stick up for the kid in our meetings and fight for him."
Multiple team sources feel that it is going to take a strong organization and ownership signing off on taking Simmons, similar to the Bengals with Mixon. While that video is going to hurt him, some team sources are planning on pushing their teams to considering Simmons and feel okay with him off the field.