The 2019 NFL Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. The Game Haus will be doing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons had a great 2017 season and added a good 2018 season to make him one of the best prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Position: Defensive Tackle
2018 stats: 63 total tackles, 18 tackles for loss, two sacks, four passes defended, one forced fumble
Size: 6-foot-4, 301 pounds
Over the past two seasons, Simmons has paired with defensive end Montez Sweat to form a formidable defensive front for Mississippi State. After a season where he displayed great play on the field, Simmons has drawn a lot of buzz heading into the 2019 NFL Draft.
In his three seasons as a Bulldog, Simmons tallied 163 total tackles, 33 tackles for loss, seven sacks, seven passes defended, two fumbles recovered, five forced fumble and one touchdown. He was able to demonstrate decent pass rushing skills, but great run defending skills at Mississippi State. In his final college season, he totaled 18 tackles for loss. Simmons was the best player on a defense that ranked second in points allowed per game.
Simmons is one of a few very talented defensive tackles in this class. Even with the many talented players at his position in this year’s class, he should be selected early in the first round of this year’s draft.
Simmons has a great burst at the line of scrimmage. When the ball is snapped, Simmons is often the first person to jump on the defensive line. He gets great momentum which helps him be more effective for the rest of the play.
Stopping the run won’t be an issue for Simmons, as he is one of the best run defenders in the draft class. He sheds blocks well and is very disruptive. Simmons maintains good gap integrity and reads where the ball carrier will go. He then finishes the play with nice tackling, a lot of times before the runner can get to the line of scrimmage.
He has a wide variety of pass rushing moves in his arsenal, which can make him a better pass rusher in the pros if he works on his craft. Simmons is a good bull-rusher, but has also shown that he has rips, clubs and swim moves that he can use.
Simmons failed to convert a lot of sacks in his final year of college football. He has a lot of moves, but needs to get to the quarterback more effectively. As a defensive tackle, he will never be asked to rack up double-digit sacks in a season, but he needs to get more than two sacks in a season as he did in 2018.
Although Simmons has a good burst at the line of scrimmage, his quickness and agility are lacking. Once he gets going one way, it is sometimes hard for him to change his direction and go back the other way. This makes it more important for him to make good reads and maintain his gap integrity.
While official combine measurements aren’t in, Simmons doesn’t have the greatest length. He has gotten around this in college, but it will be harder to be effective in the pros with that. At Mississippi State, Simmons struggled when opposing offensive linemen were able to extend their arms on him to keep him at bay. With bigger linemen in the NFL, this could become a bigger issue.
Projected Draft Range: Top 15 pick
*Simmons tore his ACL, while training for the 2019 NFL Draft and may slide to the second or third round as a result.