In the months leading up to the draft, much was made about Isaiah Simmons’ physical abilities.
Simmons played linebacker, safety and cornerback while at Clemson and made big plays all over the field. Simmons then put on a show at the Scouting Combine that left scouts marveling about his mix of size, speed and athleticism.
That led the Cardinals to take him eighth overall, but Simmons was focused on another aspect of his game when he spoke to reporters on Monday.
“The mental part of football is just as important, if not more important, than when you’re playing,” Simmons said, via AZCentral.com. “When you get to this point, everybody is a good athlete. Everybody is capable of doing the physical part. The guys that really separate are the guys who are really mentally sharp, so I really pride myself in that.”
Simmons’ mental acuity was tested by the multiple positions he had to learn at Clemson and he said having so much on his mind helped him improve on the field.
“I feel like the more you know, the better you are,” Simmons said. “The more and more I was able to learn the positions and the responsibilities of everyone, the better I was at playing, which is weird because you would think it would be a lot to handle, but honestly, the more I had to do the better I was playing.”
Moving up to the NFL is likely to test Simmons on both fronts and the Cardinals will be hoping he passes with the same flying colors he did in college.