Jeffery Simmons, DL
School: Mississippi State | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 300 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 1st Round
NFL Comparison: Chris Jones
Jeffery Simmons was a 5-star recruit from Macon, Mississippi who made his rounds by visiting the campuses of Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi State as he sifted through his scholarship offers before deciding to commit to the latter. Simmons nearly put his football future in jeopardy before his freshman season even got started. Simmons was found guilty of simple assault and malicious mischief after video surfaced of him repeatedly striking a woman allegedly because she has been making disparaging remarks about a deceased family member. Simmons was ordered to pay for the woman’s medical bills and damages to her car as a result of the assault. Mississippi State disciplined him too. They suspended Simmons for one game against South Alabama his freshman season. Mississippi State received a large amount of criticism for their decision to allow Simmons to enroll in the first place and in their decision in punishment that some consider a slap on the wrist. Simmons will have to explain his actions many times over the next few months.
On the football field their is no question that Simmons is one of the top defensive linemen in all of college football. He is quick, powerful, relentless, and already a technician when it comes to getting off blocks and into the backfield. Simmons might not have the sack numbers some are looking for at the position but what doesn’t show up on the stat sheet is how he is able to take on double teams, reroute running plays, and just be disruptive in the backfield. Any team looking for a day one starter on their defensive line will likely be considering Simmons. He is a top 20 talent the question is if his past will cause him to drop as the NFL somewhat attempts to look concerned about violence against women.
- Good size with long arms. He plays with good strength, power, arm extension, overall technique etc. He is hard to move from his assignment and has ability to collapse middle of the pocket.
- Scheme versatile he’ll be able to play DE in a 3-4 (5-T) or DT in a 4-3 (3-T). Quickness off the snap is evident. Very good at splitting lineman and working inside. Uses his initial quickness to exploit the gap and knife into the backfield.
- Has an already established counter with a nice arm over move that gets offensive linemen off balance where he can take advantage of their inside shoulder.
- Commands double teams, chips, etc - focused attention on him allows his teammates get the stat glory.
- He ruins the offenses party. He has at least 30 TFLs over the course of two seasons which is pretty rare for an interior DL.
- Past off the field issues. Lots of questions about how he has grown how his new future circumstance will affect him.
- Needs to develop a secondary move to discard those linemen with more consistency on each snap. Has a tendency to just try and win with his upper body he needs to get his lower half involved to win momentum battles.
- Offers much more as a pass rusher than as a run defender. Saw several times against Alabama, Florida, Kentucky etc where he was unable to move well enough to close on the rushing lane and the back went right past him.
Let’s see his work:
Here’s Jeffery Simmons tossing some poor sap aside by literally grabbing his arm and beating him with it. pic.twitter.com/VYbJZe6bJw— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) December 20, 2018
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
The Redskins have already decided that talent trumps character even if by accident unless you are critical of the team itself. Some teams will red flag Simmons because of his off field issue but I would place the Redskins firmly in the column of ‘would draft’.
The Redskins made an investment in the 1st round last year and improved the NT position with the selection of Daron Payne. They double dipped at the position and selected Tim Settle in the later rounds as well. If the Redskins really wanted to to take the defensive line to another level and embrace the defensive philosophy of pure dominance on the DL they could look to select another defensive lineman this year and the 1st round will be full of them. If the Redskins stick with the 3-4 (of course they will) Simmons would be a DE. They have their starters in Jon Allen and Matt Ioannidis but they have to make decisions on Stacy McGee and Caleb Brantley. As many of you may know I personally thought the decision to sign McGee was just another failure of the franchise. McGee has done close to nothing since arriving in Washington all the while making starter cash. I won’t spend much time on him other than to say that he should be cut so the Redskins can save 2.27M in 2019 and consider it a blessing that it only costs 2.4M against the cap. Simmons can fill that spot and I’m pretty sure he would be much more effective at it.
The Redskins ran into a problem down the stretch with injuries and fatigue on the defensive line. For the record I don’t think it makes much sense to spend a 1st on DL if the Redskins are sticking with a 3-4. It would only make sense to me to spend the 1st pick on the position if the FO has already decided that they will not be paying Matt Ioannidis which I will not put past them OR if they are going to move toward more of a hybrid front. So under that premise I think Simmons would be a fine fit in the Redskins scheme. He offers great power and pass rushing ability and should be able to shine in a 3-4 or 4-3. He would offer quality whenever the team needs to sub out Allen or Ioannidis and keep those guys fresh and hopefully healthy down the stretch. I would certainly sub him in on certain passing downs. He obviously also has a future as a starter. He really is disruptive and would build upon what the Redskins have been trying to do with their front for years: win at the point of attack and stop the play before it begins.