Thursday on “Good Morning Football”, NFL Network’s weekday morning football talk show, the crew discussed the defensive rookies they are most excited to see in 2020.
One of the co-hosts, Kyle Brandt, named former Clemson star and current Arizona Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons as the first-year defender he can’t wait to watch this season.
“Why do I want to see Isaiah Simmons? Because we see guys come into the league and they get really flattering comps,” Brandt said. “‘This guy reminds me of a young Luke Kuechly, a Jevon Kearse.’ Like, great players. Isaiah Simmons’ comps are like, LeBron. He goes outside the sport. He’s almost like a video game player. They’ve transcended other football players. So, I just want to see this guy completely change the game of football on the first third down the Cardinals face this year.”
Arizona used the eighth overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft to select Simmons, a freak athlete and versatile talent who lined up all over the field on defense for Clemson. The 6-foot-4, 238-pound specimen was a unanimous All-American in 2019 and was named the Butkus Award winner as the nation’s top linebacker last season.
Brandt pointed out that the Cardinals like Simmons so much, in order to land him they were willing to pass in the draft on first-rate offensive tackle prospects who could have provided protection for quarterback Kyler Murray, as well as pass on top wide receivers such as Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb and Alabama’s Henry Ruggs.
“I would say this, too – look at the thing that the Cardinals are building on offense there, that Kliff (Kingsbury) wants to do with Kyler, and look at the players they could’ve had,” Brandt said. “Like, they could have had CeeDee Lamb, who Kyler was openly campaigning for. They could have said ‘screw it’ and drafted Ruggs. Imagine they go five wide with D-Hop (Deandre Hopkins) and Larry Fitz (Larry Fitzgerald) and Christian Kirk and (Andy) Isabella and CeeDee Lamb. They could’ve done that, and then you can cancel the season. Or they could’ve gone with a couple of tackles up there, just as a conservative pick to build around the offense.
“And yet they said you know what, this Simmons dude is so crazy, we’re going to say ‘screw it’ to all those wide receivers that we’re salivating for and we’re going to take him, the guy who gets Giannis Antetokounmpo comparisons. So, this guy, expectations are so high for what a good athlete he is, I just want to see it. That first third down, I’m there.”
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