Justin Simmons   S/CB/WR   Boston College

Justin has the athletic talent to play on offense as a wide receiver and on defense as a defensive back, safety or cornerback. Thatís right, thatís how talented and underrated Justin is. He has excellent size and athletic talent and can catch and intercept the ball as well as most receivers in this draft. Justin is a sure tackler and shows excellent leadership skills on and off the field. He has those long arms and legs that allow for a big defensive radius and the ability to cover ground quickly along with the lateral agility and burst that a player needs to quickly change direction to cover receivers on defense and to run routes on offense. His college team plays a lot of zone coverage and relies on Justin to get his teammates in the right spacing and position before the snap of the ball. Justin has the speed to cover up in the backfield for most mistakes made by his teammates which is why I think the coaches wanted him at the safety position. Justin is very talented, smart and could be used as a safety, a cover safety, a red zone corner, a punt returner, a member of the punt coverage team or as a slot receiver on offense. I think that might be a pretty good player to have on your teamÖdonít you?

Iím not going to bother to nitpick here except to say truthfully, Iím not sure what position Justin will impact at for the NFL team that selects him. Regardless, he definitely is underrated.

Sometimes you have to look at the player and not just the position they play. Playing safety in a two deep zone does not show off a playerís talents except as a tackler. Justin basically plays in that style of defense so I suspect the numbers he put up at the combine were a shock to most. Justin ran a 4.6 in the forty -- not shocking good, but solid for a safety. The number that stands out the most and the number that made me go back to the tape and do more homework on him was a 3.8 in the short shuttle. Justin is 6í2Ē 202 lbs and did a 3.8 in the short shuttle which is better than any cover cornerback, better than any pass rusher, better than any receiver or running back. That 3.8 in the short shuttle was better than any player in the entire combine. So I say to myself, ďSelf, thatís a safety?!Ē So I go back and I do more work, I look at film of interceptions of Justin adjusting and catching the ball one handed, two handed, behind him low, high and say this kidís got good hands. Then I watch as his teammates blow coverages on the other side of the field and Justin runs the player down and makes a tackle. Then I see him come up quickly and go low and tackle. Then I say to myself, ďSelf, this kidís got talent! Whatís he doing at safety in a two deep zone system?Ē You can find a lot of players to play safety in that style of defense. Then I see him directing his teammates and I realize thatís what they needed: a coach on the field and thatís another talent Justin possesses. Say what you want, draft him when you want but donít be surprised if Justin impacts big time in the NFL where his talent will be better used on either side of the ball. By the way, donít believe that 4.6 in the 40 either. The kid runs like a gazelle.

Drew Boylhart  MAR.2016