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Should the Browns Move Up in the NFL Draft?

Everyone talks about the Browns and filling the left tackle position at pick ten. All of that talk overshadows the pressing need at linebacker. If the Browns so choose, they could sit back at ten and take Kenneth Murray out of Oklahoma or possibly Patrick Queen out of LSU. Would ten be too high? Maybe but if you see that as the player to take, you take the player. There is always the trade back and still get one of the two, but trading back is not a favorite of Browns fans. One big-time talent that likely won’t be at ten is Isaiah Simmons. Simmons is the one player the Browns should make a move for if he falls into the 6-8 range next week. He is one of the most versatile and talented players in the draft.

Simmons Played Everywhere

Browns Move Up
Dec 2, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; Clemson Tigers safety Isaiah Simmons (11) lines up during the first half against the Miami Hurricanes in the ACC championship game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Simmons is a 6’4″ 230-pound linebacker out of Clemson. While every site, expert, and draft magazine you can find list him as a linebacker, he is so much more. During his time with the Tigers, Simmons played safety, linebacker, and even slot corner. When you are as big as he is and can run a 4.39 40-yard dash, you can do those things. Was he good in coverage? Simmons finished his career at Clemson with 20 passes defended and four interceptions, one for a touchdown. Yeah, but was he good when asked to attack the line of scrimmage? He totaled 28.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and six forced fumbles. It makes you realize why he is rated a top-five talent. This type of versatility is what NFL defensive coordinators crave.

Simmons NFL Value

Even with the eye-popping athleticism and college numbers, what makes his so valuable to NFL teams? That versatility. Imagine giving a defensive coordinator the ability to play one guy anywhere on the field, and no one on the offense knows what he is going to do. Is he going to blitz? Maybe he drops back into coverage? Or will he just sit in a zone and wait for a mistake? How about sitting there just spying someone like Lamar Jackson with the physical tools to match? Want him to rush the passer from the edge? He can do that also. Simmons has that kind of talent. Tell me what defensive coordinator wouldn’t sign up for that. Simmons is kind of like Kyle Van Noy with elite physical gifts. Maybe the Dolphins surprise and take him at five since they now have Van Noy? Talk about masking everything thing on defense.

Why the Browns should move up to get him

Browns Move Up
Jan 7, 2019; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Clemson Tigers safety Isaiah Simmons (11) against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2019 College Football Playoff Championship game at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Read above. Any team seeing that kind of talent on the board should look to add it. Andrew Berry and the Browns front office are no different. It comes down to what you are willing to pay. The Browns’ most significant weaknesses defensively heading into 2020 are at linebacker and possibly safety. Isaiah Simmons can help cover up for both needs. He has the speed and strength to play like a box safety making things easier on the secondary while also providing a big frame to take on the run game.

While Simmons certainly has some issues with his game technically, he has the tools to be great. If Joe Woods is as good as most believe, then he should have no problem turning those tools into a productive superstar at the next level. If the Browns decide to move up, this is the player they should be targeting to help Myles Garrett and the rest of the Browns defense.


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