Isaiah Simmons would be just what the New York Giants need to help resurrect a defense that has struggled mightily.
Over the course of their 95 seasons in the NFL, when the New York Giants were at their best, it was in large part due to their defense. In the Super Bowl era, players like Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Michael Strahan, and Justin Tuck were leaders and helped guide the Giants to four Super Bowl victories.
But over the last several seasons, the Giants defense hasn’t resembled anything close to a championship-caliber group. In fact, the defense is a significant reason why the team’s record over the last three seasons is 12-36. Big Blue finished 31st, 24th, and 25th in total defense in 2017, 2018, and 2019, respectively.
It’s safe to say the Giants defense is in dire need of a game-changing player who can help flip the switch on the team’s fortunes. Luckily for head coach Joe Judge and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, there’s a player in this year’s draft that can address all of their needs, and that’s Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons.
Several mock drafts predict the Giants will take Simmons with the No. 4 overall pick. This is due to the fact that he’s arguably the most versatile defensive player in the draft. Simply speaking, Simmons can lineup almost anywhere on the field.
After redshirting as a freshman in 2016, Simmons played in 13 games at safety in 2017. During that span, he totaled 45 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. In 2018, he converted to the sam linebacker spot and racked up 88 combined tackles, three forced fumbles, one interception, and two sacks in 15 games. He ultimately helped the Tigers to a 44-16 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff National Championship.
As great as Simmons was in 2018, he would take his game to an even higher level in 2019.
In his final year at Clemson, he recorded 104 combined tackles (16.5 tackles for loss) to go along with eight pass breakups, eight sacks, and three interceptions. Due to his outstanding performance, he earned the Butkus Award for the nation’s best linebacker. He was also named a unanimous first-team All-American as well as the ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
Although he was listed as a linebacker and safety during his collegiate career, he also lined up from time to time at the corner and slot corner positions. He’s essentially a swiss army knife on the defensive end, as he can fill almost any position on the field.
And just when you thought his draft stock couldn’t increase any more, Simmons turned heads at the NFL Combine. The 21-year-old ran a 4.39 40-yard dash, recorded a vertical jump of 39 inches, and broad jumped 132 inches.
ISAIAH. SIMMONS. 🔥
— NFL (@NFL) March 1, 2020
A player with this type of versatility and athleticism seldom comes along. Simmons additionally fits what Judge seeks in a player. The newly hired head coach recently stated he wants players who can fit in any style of defense, ones who can keep opposing offenses guessing.
This is one of the reasons many feel Simmons would be a perfect fit for the Giants. https://t.co/cKMCuaAmWQ
— Jason Leach (@JasonKLeach) February 26, 2020
If Simmons is available when the Giants are on the clock, it’ll be difficult for them to pass on him. Sure, the Giants need to address other needs such as the offensive line. But they’ve used their first pick in each of the last three drafts on offense. Thus, it’s time to make the defense a priority.
Big Blue’s two biggest in-division foes — the Cowboys and Eagles — have each swept the Giants the last three seasons. They additionally employ young and talented offensive players like Dak Prescott (if he stays in Dallas), Ezekiel Elliott, Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, and Miles Sanders. Drafting Simmons would be the first step in slowing down these offenses for years to come.
Simmons has the potential to make the Pro Bowl in his rookie season. If he’s available for the Giants, general manager Dave Gettleman must draft him.