Isaiah Simmons gives the Arizona Cardinals a playmaking star on defense

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

The Arizona Cardinals saw linebacker Isaiah Simmons fall into their laps with the No. 8 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, giving the defense a playmaker.

Linebacker Isaiah Simmons’ last football victory came in Glendale at State Farm Stadium as part of the Clemson Tigers’ win in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. Now the eighth pick in the 2020 NFL Draft will look to add on to his win totals as a star piece of the Arizona Cardinals defense.

Simmons was a defensive stalwart all season for the Tigers as a do-it-all chess piece. Now, he’ll be adding depth to an Arizona squad that accumulated the most tackles (808) of any NFL team in 2019.

Though officially listed as a linebacker, Simmons lined up at several different positions on the field for Clemson. Arizona was tied for the least interceptions (seven) in 2019, and recorded the second least pass deflections (62) in 2019, so he may be used as a corner or another spot in the defensive backfield in sub-packages.

With a 4.39-second 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine, the fastest of any linebacker in the history of the event, and outstanding leaping ability, Simmons could provide a much-needed addition in pass coverage from all over the gridiron, while also getting into the backfield to disrupt plays on blitzes. Meanwhile, he has sideline-to-sideline range to cover the run.

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The Cardinals still have many needs, including at wide receiver, to address before the start of the 2020 NFL season. But, for a first-round pick, Simmons provides hope that Arizona could make offense difficult for its opponents in the NFC West.