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2019 NFL Draft profile: Mississippi State DL Jeffery Simmons

Photo credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams don’t plan on having Ndamukong Suh back for 2019. The Rams could be looking at defensive linemen that can free up Aaron Donald from double teams. Jeffery Simmons is a top defensive talent when healthy. He could find his way to the Rams at pick No. 31 where he’d be hard to pass up.

College stats and honors:

2018: 63 tackles, 25 solo, 18 for loss, 2 sacks, 4 pass break ups, 1 forced fumble.

Career: 163 tackles, 58 solo, 33 for loss, 7 sacks, 7 pass break ups, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 forced fumble.

Honors: Bednarik Award Semifinalist (2018), Conerly Trophy (2018), 2nd team All-American (2018), 1st team All-SEC (2018), Bednarik Award Semifinalist (2017), 1st team All-SEC (2017), Academic Honor Roll (2017), Freshman All-SEC team (2016), Academic Honor Roll (2016).

Strengths:

Simmons is an aggressive defensive lineman with powerful hands. He does an excellent job at penetrating gaps and bringing down backs for losses. His ability to take on double teams and succeed is impressive. Simmons is a strong lineman and that actively uses his hands when rushing the passer. He has already developed a bull rush, a swim move, a rip and a push-pull. Simmons does a great job of collapsing the pocket.

He does a solid job pursuing the ball carrier when the play is away from him. Good instincts lead him to be in good position to make plays. Was a great teammate and competitor in college.

Weaknesses:

Gets a little too high at times, which negates his strength. Also, when he is tired his hands become less active and his rush is ineffective. Simmons will occasionally get caught up on blockers.

A torn ACL during 2019 NFL Combine preparation leaves question of future health and 2019 availability. Some character concerns stemming from an altercation with a woman exist, interviews will be important in draft evaluation.

Expected Draft round:

Character and injury concerns can derail any prospects chances of being a high pick. I had the chance to personally speak with Simmons over the phone and came away impressed. Simmons has top 10 talent, but his torn ACL may cause him to fall. Some teams may remove him from their board because of his incident before his freshman year. Personally, I’d draft him at 31. His talent is exceptional and despite character concerns, he was a model student/citizen while enrolled at Mississippi State. Simmons can line up as a 3-tech, 5-tech and nose tackle. He may not be ready Week 1 of 2019, but even if he needs a redshirt, he’s worth it. Simmons should be a late first or mid second round pick.

Player comparison:

Nadamukong Suh, Sheldon Richardson

 

Sources: Sports Reference, Mississippi State University, RamsWire

Follow Josh Kollack on Twitter @rn_kylo and stay up-to-date on all the latest news and updates on the Los Angeles Rams by following @TalkRams.

 

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