4. Isaiah Simmons, Linebacker
It was hard to find anyone who wasn’t a believer in Isaiah Simmons when he entered the 2020 NFL Draft. The Clemson product came in at 6-4 and 238 pounds making him an ideal-sized linebacker in the pros. But he was also fast enough and strong enough in coverage that he could line up as a safety in certain packages.
Simmons wound up being the eighth overall pick that year as the Arizona Cardinals hoped to build their defense around him. That didn’t happen with Arizona initially struggling to figure out where he fit. They moved him from safety to linebacker and his performance suffered.
Eventually, they moved on and sent him to the New York Giants in 2023. He had 50 tackles, a sack, and an interception for the Giants but wasn’t considered a difference-maker. Still, he continued to prove he can have success in the right system. And Cleveland could offer him that.
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has already gotten more out of Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah than any other coach has. JOK, who came in with a similar skill set and background as Simmons, has flourished in his attacking role. Perhaps adding Simmons would give them one more player who can be disruptive due to their speed but is also able to perform in coverage.
Cleveland would still do well to bring back a run-stuffing linebacker such as Sione Takitaki but envisioning packages with JOK and Simmons is exciting. Especially in third-and-long situations.