Al Galdi asks if Isaiah Simmons good enough to make the Redskins trading their No. 2 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and thus passing on Chase Young worth it?
CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora on CBS Sports HQ said the following regarding the Redskins potentially trading the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft: “I continue to hear that (the Redskins) are increasingly open to trading out…If they do drop back a few spots, I believe strongly they would target Isaiah Simmons, and that’s another player who I’m told is super high on their board. He’s such a rotational chess piece you could put all over the place. They’re very intrigued by that possibility if they were to move down.”
According to Pro Football Focus, Simmons, who measured 6-foot-4 and 238 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine, played more than 100 snaps at five different positons for Clemson in 2019: 299 snaps at inside linebacker, 262 snaps at slot cornerback, 132 snaps at free safety, 116 snaps at outside linebacker and 100 snaps at strong safety.
Brent Venables, who is Clemson’s associate head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, has been a pioneer in the positionless-football movement. The whole concept is predicated on being able to match up with the vast array of formations, shifts and personnel groupings an offense can throw at you while not having to sub or scrap certain calls.
The linebacker position has evolved unlike any other in football over the past decade. First of all, we have had the rise in usage of the nickel defense. Per Pro Football Focus, NFL defenses in 2009 had five or more defensive backs in on only 35.7 percent of plays versus in 2019 having five or more defensive backs in on 58 percent of plays. Linebacker has gone from being a position with at least three spots on the field to now two or at times even one. But we at the same time have had a change in what linebackers look like. Just four of the 43 linebackers who recorded at least 80 tackles during the 2019 regular season were listed at 250 or more pounds. Gone are the days of the run-stopping thumper. You need to be quick. And you need to be versatile.
Ron Rivera late last month at his press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis talked-up the importance of positional versatility, “I like position-flex. I really do. And I believe in it. I think position flexibility is huge.”
And Ron in that same answer talked about linebacker Shaq Thompson, who over five seasons with the Carolina Panthers (2015-2019) has been utilized in all kinds of ways: “Shaq was a great example. Here’s a guy that could play the nickel position for you and cover and run with a lot of receivers. And then at the same time go back into the box and play the SAM linebacker position for you. That’s an invaluable player. That’s the kind of player that you look for in the draft…a guy who has position flexibility.”
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