By the time early April rolls around each year, there have been hundreds of NFL Mock Drafts released, and this year is no different. And in everyone of those mocks drafts this year, former Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons is taken somewhere in the top ten.
Of course, there is always that one analyst that thinks he knows better than the rest and this time it’s ESPN’s Cole Cubelic. Despite Simmons running a 4.39 forty, which was faster than 39 of the 45 wide receivers that ran at the Combine, Cubelic has doubts about Simmons ability to cover the elite NFL tight ends,
“I don’t see where he fits. You’re telling me some of these flex tight ends in the NFL he’s going to be able to run with those guys and cover? You’re confident in him manning up Travis Kelce? Is he quick enough, fast enough, athletic enough to cover the slot, be it a flex tight end or a slot receiver? I think he’s physical enough to play the run close to the box, but can he do it for an entire season and can he hold up against NFL offensive linemen and NFL blockers? That’s a question mark that I have.”Cubelic on a recent podcast
Peter King from NBC thinks Cubelic is dead wrong.
“Let’s put the 4.39-second time in some perspective. Simmons will be asked to cover tight ends or backs, mostly, when he covers in the NFL; maybe he’ll shadow some wideouts in the slot. Occasionally. There were 45 wide receivers who ran at the combine. Four were faster than Simmons. Two tied his 40- time. And 39 were slower. In perhaps the best year ever for wide receivers in the draft, a hybrid back-seven player performed faster than 39 of the 45 stallions at wideout. Plus: Compared to all tight ends at the combine, only one was within a quarter-second of Simmons’ speed.Peter King
Even ESPN’s Mel Kiper called Simmons the most NFL ready player in this draft.
“Certainly, I think Isaiah Simmons, with the versatility he has, will be the No. 1 guy on that list. He can run, he can cover. I mean, covers like a safety/corner, can get to the quarterback. He would be the one guy you would highlight just because he’s the most versatile. He would be the so-called most NFL-ready player.”Mel Kiper
What are the odds on Cubelic being right and every other analyst being wrong?