Kliff Kingsbury wants to see how Isaiah Simmons does when locked into one position

Getty Images

Whenever Isaiah Simmons’ name came up ahead of the draft, it was a good bet that his versatility would be part of the discussion.

Simmons played all over the field in Clemson’s defense and Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said on a Monday conference call that Simmons’ versatility was part of the team’s “fascination” with adding him in the first round. The initial plan for Simmons in Arizona isn’t designed to mimic what he did at Clemson, however.

Kingsbury said that team has wondered what Simmons will look like if they “really focus on one position” as he enters the NFL.

“His ability to play so many positions and not really having a chance to focus on one, we just think the sky could be the limit for what he can be if we really lock him in one position for the majority of the time,” Kingsbury said.

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph suggested that position is going to be linebacker, but just how the Cardinals deploy Simmons will be one of the things to watch once teams are able to get to work on the field.

9 responses to “Kliff Kingsbury wants to see how Isaiah Simmons does when locked into one position

  1. Arizona will have no problem completely taking TE’s out of the game with the additions of Simmons and DeVondre Campbell. Simmons greatly upgrades Arizona’s defense , not just for his ability to match-up in coverage but also to rush the QB both off the edge and inside.

  2. That’s what good coaches do. Draft a player who made his bones by being multipositional and versatile and lock him up into one position…Also the reason AZ is always drafting in the top 10 every year.

  3. Sometimes when you play a bunch of positions it’s because you’re not good enough at any one position. I’m sure that’s not the case with Simmons. I don’t know if coach is just now getting around to watching college tape on this kid, or if he’s just curious. Geez, now I’m curious.

  4. Not a good look if he is just getting around to looking at tape of the guy you just drafted in the top 10…

  5. “Arizona will have no problem completely taking TE’s out of the game with the additions of Simmons and DeVondre Campbell. Simmons greatly upgrades Arizona’s defense , not just for his ability to match-up in coverage but also to rush the QB both off the edge and inside.”

    ———————————-

    I think you need to watch Campbell’s tape some more.

    As for Simmons, I doubt that Kingsbury will tell Joseph what to do with his defense. If he does, that would beyond stupid as a very new head coach who is still relying on his veterans to help run his team. It doesn’t matter who the DC is, in a coaching situation like Arizona’s, the coordinator needs to run his own show. So i do not believe that Kingsbury will be silly enough to dictate to Joseph how he wants the pick used. If he does, like I said, that’s ridiculous.

    That said, playing Simmons at corner (meaning, having anything other than him having nickel duties on a handful of plays for confusion purposes) would be silly as well. Simmons would be better at a single primary position, that is true, and that position is likely at outside linebacker. Now, that position is very versatile, and Simmons can have a wide array of duties there that can mirror what he did in college, from manning up to covering a zone to rushing the passer or setting the edge. There are a lot of different things he can do and routes he can take to the ball without having to jump from position to position. I don’t see him playing slot corner in the pros. It’s one thing to do it at Clemson against mostly weaker teams (What I mean by this is that I would wager that Simmons had many more non-linebacker snaps against the weaker teams and not the tougher ones that Clemson played) and another to do in the pros, where competition is more even. No, I am not poking fun at Clemson’s schedule, before anyone says that I am. I think Simmons will benefit from having a secure position before they start experimenting with him, and the defense is not good enough at this point to start gambling with where Simmons will play. Too many other spots around him are uncertain and need figuring out before he plays significant snaps at other positions. There are a lot of things he can do at outside linebacker as is that encompass many of the Swiss Army Knife functions that were advertised at the draft.

    Also, in college, Simmons’ work at corner was good for his size, but not comparable to an actual corner. Playing that against NFL teams is not a recipe for success. Cool and perhaps effective for a play or two, but not for many. He can be taken advantage of with deep routes, for instance. In Clemson’s final regular season game he got taken advantage of a couple of times in coverage, for instance, and there’s a good tape of his work in the game on Youtube. There were also a couple of times where he showed his inability to get off blocks at the LOS. So using him at all these positions without letting him first develop at one is a bit premature. The Cards would be best off playing him at OLB and letting him develop and moving him occasionally within that role at then ext level. While Simmons can do many things, he still needs a good bit of work, shedding blocks and taking good angles in the backfield to ball carriers specifically. It’d be foolish to waste his athleticism by only using him in one role, but OLBs today do a lot of things, and he needs to show that he is reliable in all of those roles before being expected to contribute significant snaps anywhere else.

  6. Isaiah Simmons is a unique talent. He virtually has played all over for Clemson’s defense. I believe he will line up at outside linebacker. That a great position to rush the passer. drop back into coverage, and tackle ball carriers depending on the scheme being played. He won’t be free lancing. It’s all by design.

  7. Wasn’t one of his strengths was that he could play multiple positions well? Seems that the coaching will be removing that strength. Coaching may damage Simmons value.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.