Jeffery Simmons Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Quick at the point of attack
Too fast for guards
Dangerous interior pass-rusher
Can bull rush through blockers
Skilled at shedding blocks
Strong bull rush
Strong able to anchor in the ground game
Successful against good competition
Can eat up double teams
Uses hands and feet at same time
Can play a variety of techniques in a 4-3 or 3-4
Gets in trouble when he plays too high
Could stand to improve his pass-rushing moves
Enters the NFL rehabbing a torn ACL
Could miss his rookie entire season
Summary: Simmons was a top recruit coming out of high school and was a huge get for Dan Mullen at Mississippi State. However, Simmons was fortunate to stay a Bulldog after being involved in a street fight in which he punched a woman numerous times. The incident was caught on video, and that video is as bad or worse than the one that of former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon punching a woman. Simmons was lucky that incident didn't end his pro football career before it even got started.
Simmons collected 40 tackles with two forced fumbles as a freshman. In 2017, he was one of the best defensive linemen in college football, totaling 60 tackles with 12 tackles for a loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass batted. Simmons saw extra attention as a junior, and teams game-planning for him, but he still managed to produce at a steady clip. He recorded 63 tackles with 17 tackles for a loss, two sacks, one forced fumble and four passes batted in 2018. After his impressive collegiate career, Simmons decided to skip his senior year and enter the 2019 NFL Draft.
Unfortunately for Simmons, he suffered a devastating blow during combine preparation, tearing an ACL. That injury could cost him some of, if not all of, his rookie season in the NFL.
Back in a September 2018 Hot Press blog, we reported how one team's scout said they were going to fight for Simmons in pre-draft meetings after doing their research into the background of Simmons. They said that the staff at Mississippi State and contacts at his hometown town speak highly of Simmons and there were no problems with him in college. They feel he learned from his high school incident and weren't concerned about a repeat. Sources across the league were all in agreement that Simmons is a top-20 talent for the NFL, but because of the injury, he might go late in the first round or in the second round. One general manager told WalterFootball.com that just about no team will hesitate to take Simmons if he's available in Round 2.
In the passing-driven NFL, teams are always looking for interior pass-rushers. They are a tough commodity to find, and getting to the quarterback from the inside is the fastest method to put pressure on a quarterback. Thus, Simmons is going to intrigue a lot of evaluators even though his rookie season could be lost to ACL rehab.
Simmons is a dangerous interior rusher. He is fast at the point of attack with the speed to fire a gap and charge down the pocket. He has a real burst to close and the athleticism to redirect, allowing him to use his speed to chase down the signal-caller. Simmons puts a lot of quick pressure on the quarterback to get them off their landmark and harass the signal-caller. On top of his speed, Simmons has real power to bull rush through blockers and heavy hands to shed blockers. With a strong lower body, Simmons is able to ride blockers straight back into the pocket by getting them on roller skates. Due to his combination of speed and power, Simmons is a dynamic interior rusher.
As a run defender, Simmons is pretty sound at the point of attack. He gets in trouble when he stands up too high, but Simmons has the strength in his base to anchor when he plays with good leverage. He uses his speed to chase down ball-carriers outside of his gap, and he blows up a lot of run plays by creating havoc in the backfield. Simmons is at his best when he uses his great skill set to get upfield and cause disruption off the snap.
For the NFL, Simmons is very versatile. He could be a three-technique in a 4-3 defense or play some nose tackle. In a 3-4, he could fit as a five-technique defensive end.
Player Comparison: Fletcher Cox. Simmons reminds me of Fletcher Cox. Both are fast at the point of attack with strength, athleticism and versatility. Cox (6-4, 310) and Simmons are almost identical in size, and both were standouts for Mississippi State. Cox was the 12th-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and Simmons would have gone in that same range if it weren't for his injury. If Simmons stays healthy and returns to his pre-injury form, I think he could be an excellent NFL defensive lineman with a similar style of play to Cox.
NFL Matches: Cleveland, New England, Buffalo, Miami, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Green Bay, Detroit, Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City
Interior disruptors are hard to find, so there should be a lot of teams hoping to land Simmons late in the first round or in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Cleveland would be a good fit for Simmons. His speed and athleticism at three-technique would be dynamic next to Myles Garrett. The Browns were in need of more interior pass rush, and Simmons would fit nicely with Sheldon Richardson. Without a first-round pick, Simmons would be a great value for the Browns on Day 2 because he would still bring first-round talent to their roster.
The Patriots also make a lot of sense for Simmons, because they have the strength in their roster to be patient for Simmons to work his way back. He would be an excellent value for New England at No. 32 overall. The team also has two second-round picks that could come into play for Simmons.
Staying in the AFC East, the Bills could use a young interior disruptor for their scheme, and Simmons could be a three-technique to go with their nose tackles. Miami needs to replace Ndamukong Such, and Simmons could form a nice tandem with Charles Harris.
The Colts have switched to a 4-3 defense under their new coaching staff and could use a tackle to go with Denico Autry. Simmons could be a fit for Indianapolis late in the first round or early in the second round, where the team has the 34th-overall pick from the Jets.
There are a few landing spots for Simmons in the NFC North. The Lions could use an interior pass-rusher, and Simmons would be a great value for them in the second round. Minnesota also could consider a tackle due to Sharrif Floyd having been forced into early retirement and Sheldon Richardson having left in free agency. Similarly, Green Bay signed Muhammed Wilkerson to a 1-year contract. Simmons could interest the Vikings in Round 2 and be in play for the Packers in the second round.
The Chargers could use some youth on the inside of their defensive line, and Simmons could be a dangerous interior pass-rusher sandwiched by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Staying in the AFC West, Simmons could interest Kansas City, which needs more talent on the defensive line around Chris Jones.