The Titans made defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons the 19th overall pick of the draft on Thursday night and that choice was questioned on a couple of fronts.
One was the fact that it’s uncertain whether he’ll play as a rookie after he tore his ACL working out ahead of the draft. The other pertains to a video of Simmons hitting a woman while he was in high school and his subsequent no contest plea to a simple assault charge.
General Manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel both said that the team came away from their research into Simmons confident that the incident was not one indicative of the kind of person that Simmons has been since entering Mississippi State.
“I’ll say this: There are bad people, and there are good people that make mistakes — bad, horrific mistakes,” Vrabel said, via the Tennessean. “And you can fix mistakes, you can’t fix bad people. And I can’t wait, and I’m excited to have Jeff sit in front of you guys and share that story. He doesn’t hide behind it. He stands up like a grown man and he owns it. And I can promise you I will be proud of him when he meets with you, whenever he does, that this is a good guy, this is a great guy that made a horrific mistake. He lives with it every day of his life and I’m very confident, as is Jon, that he will make everyone here proud.”
Robinson said Simmons told him that he won’t let the team down and Simmons said on a conference call that he’s grown a lot since the incident. The at left the Titans comfortable picking a player who was on track to go a lot earlier if not for the questions he carried into Thursday night.