Atlanta Falcons: NFL draft report post Week 5
Jeffery Simmons DT Mississippi State 6′ 4″ 300 pounds September 8 vs Kansas State
Positives – carries 300-plus pounds well. Big frame with well distributed weight and little flab. Played both DT spots in a four-man front and the nose tackle position in three-man fronts. Immediately displayed strength and power and continued to do so throughout the game. Constantly walked his man back towards the quarterback on passing plays. Generally held his ground against the run. Had a sack and made multiple tackles for loss. Can chase plays down from behind. Not quite the athlete Rashan Gary is, but is still surprisingly athletic for his size. Instincts generally look good. Hustles. Game broadcasters noted his is known as a leader in the weight room. Faced a lot of double-teams and usually held his own. Flashed some technique, particularly a swim move. Rarely came off the field and never appeared gassed. Quickness of the snap is more consistent than Gary’s (though not as good as Gary’s best). Plays on special teams and had three blocked kicks in 2017.
Negatives – gets wired to blocks and had difficulty disengaging. Kansas State had some big runs inside in part because Simmons got caught coming upfield and getting walled off and couldn’t shed his blocker. Relies on the bull-rush to often and doesn’t always appear to have a plan to beat his man. Held his own against double-teams, but I don’t recall ever seeing him split one. Never kicked outside to end in any package or situation. Doesn’t have the bulk to be a true nose in the NFL. Looks like a very good to possibly great talent, but not a special one. Athletic for his size, but not freakishly athletic.
Summary – I can see why there are those who see Simmons as a potential first-round pick next April. He doesn’t have the hype or the resume of a Gary or Ed Oliver (University of Houston) or Dexter Lawrence (University of Clemson) and won’t be a Top 5 or Top 10 pick. However, the talent and production are there for him to go in the bottom half or bottom third on Day One of the draft. So, while the Falcons would have to make a big trade up (hopefully – otherwise they had a bad year this year) to get Gary, Simmons might very well fall right into their lap.