Afternoon all, I know it's earlier than too-early to start talking draft. But with the hype from the trade deadline now subsiding, it got me thinking about how the loss of our 3rd round pick changed how my wishlist would look. At the same time, upon discussing needs and those that went unaddressed, I've recently become infatuated with a certain player; Jeffery Simmons.
Simmons is an athletic defensive tackle out of Mississippi State, who's pro-comparison is our very own Fletcher Cox (who also played for Miss. State) and is projected to be drafted in the late first round. He's described by Jon Ledyard from The Draft Network as:
A dangerous interior rusher who is fast to the point of attack, and possesses a unique desirable combination of both speed and power which allows him to burst through gaps, and overpower blockers.
and here's another selling point in a breakdown by P.J. Green of Breaking Football:
For the NFL, Simmons is the versatile defender any D-Coordinator would die for. He can play 3-technique or 5-technique in any 4-3 defensive scheme, or even nose tackle in a base 3-4. Think, the in-and-out position flexibility of Michael Bennett, with the size and power of Geno Atkins.
Here's how Simmons stats have broken up over his career for the Bulldogs:
As you can see, he's been a highly productive interior rusher throughout college. No sacks so far this season, but his tackle for loss numbers are eye-popping for the number of games he's played.
Like I said before, Simmons has been compared heavily to 3-time pro-bowler Fletcher Cox. Not only were they both groomed by the same football program at Mississippi State, they have similar builds and play styles. Let's take a look:
As you can see, the two players are nearly identical in their measurements. Cox's draft grade is a tad higher than Simmons' because in 2012, Cox was the top-rated pass-rusher of an absolute monster draft class that featured other DT talents such as; Dontari Poe, Michael Brockers, Akiem Hicks, and Mike Daniels. Simmons on the other hand is rated as the 4th best interior d-lineman of 2019, which also means he could easily be available in the latter half of the first round.
Similar to Cox, Simmons is entering the draft after his 3rd year of college play, let's take a look at their college stats side by side:
As much as I love me some Timmy Jernigan, there's been a lack of availability, and a lack of production from him since his back injury last season. With talk of releasing him after this season, bringing in a big, powerful, athletic, pass-rushing DT to pair next to Cox would make our D-Line nigh unstoppable.
With the impending loss of defensive line talent after this season, and questions around Jernigan, adding a defensive talent like Jeffery Simmons would maintain the elite play status of the Philadelphia Eagles defensive line. Couple this with the continued growth of 2017 first round pick Derek Barnett, the incredibly high ceiling of 2018 fourth round pick Josh Sweat, and the continued dominance of pro-bowler Fletcher Cox, and we could see the Eagles defensive line destroying opposing offenses well into the future.
If you took the time to read this write-up, many thanks. I may plan on doing a few more in regards to other first round options for the Eagles, as well as other desired picks throughout the draft or even trades and FA options.