There’s only one player the New York Giants should select with the fourth overall selection in the NFL Draft, and that’s Clemson linebacker Isiah Simmons. Honestly, I’m pigeonholing Simmons by saying he’s a linebacker, because his real position is just defense.
Calling Isiah Simmons a linebacker is like saying your iPhone is just a music player. He can literally do it all, playing safety, defensive line, linebacker and cornerback at Clemson last season. Brent Venables, Clemson’s defensive coordinator, said Simmons’ position was simply ‘the Cheetah’.
The new head coach of the New York Giants, Joe Judge, insists on a philosophy where his players are versatile, can do multiple things well and play to their strengths. Well, duh, could there ever be a player that fits that philosophy more perfect?
“Our philosophy is going to be to put pressure on the opponent to prepare for multiple things”, said Judge at his introductory press conference.
“Within that, we have to have personnel versatility and we have to have flexibility schematically to make sure that whoever we play, we can adjust our game plan to maximize our strengths versus their weaknesses” explained the Giants head coach.
Judge should be begging Giants general manager Dave Gettleman for a player like Isiah Simmons.
Giants new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham must be salivating at the idea that he could have a swiss army knife defender like Isiah Simmons. Graham, known for his flexible scheme and impressive football IQ, could maximize Simmons’ abilities on each and every play.
Giant fans have been begging for the team to draft a linebacker in the first round for decades now, something the team hasn’t done since they took team legend Carl Banks with the third pick in 1984. Simmons, who can cover, rush the passer, and lead the defense, would be an instant hit with them. Gettleman would be lauded for making the selection Jerry Reese never could.
Simmons has been compared to multiple NFL stars, like Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller, Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu and Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey. This isn’t your average linebacker, this is a generational talent that no other team in the NFL has.
In the past, teams have tried to utilize the ‘money backer’ position, including the Giants last season. Former defensive coordinator James Bettcher tried to bring it into the scheme with players like Jabrill Peppers and Deone Buchannon, but putting Simmons in that class would almost be insulting. If the Giants brought Simmons in, it would transform a defense that’s been one of the league’s worst since their days of Super Bowl glory.
A player with a similar skillset to Simmons is Chargers defensive back, Derwin James. Teams believed James was too small to play linebacker and too slow to play safety, so he fell in the draft. James’ is now one of the best defensive players in the league, and the Chargers got an absolute steal at seventeenth overall in the draft. Teams won’t make the same mistake with Simmons.
The counter arguments for the Giants drafting Simmons is that they need a franchise left tackle or they need to trade back for more picks. While it would be nice to fix the much maligned offensive line and get some extra selections, it isn’t worth losing Simmons. There is no player you could get to replace him in this draft, or any draft. He is truly one of a kind.
This year’s tackle class is deep, and while you may not get a blue chip prospect, the Giants can get a pretty darn good one at thirty-sixth overall with your second pick. It could be an all-time blunder if you pass on Simmons and you get another Ereck Flowers’ situation at tackle with your first pick.
Dave Gettlemen, on behalf of all Giants fans, don’t overthink it – Isiah Simmons is the only pick to make at fourth overall.