2020 NFL draft prospects who are perfect for today’s game, plus their pro comps



McShay projects where Isaiah Simmons can land in 2020 NFL draft (1:11)

Todd McShay lauds what he’s seen on tape from Isaiah Simmons and mentions the possible landing spots for the former Clemson linebacker. (1:11)

7:30 AM ET
  • Matt BowenESPN Staff Writer

      Former NFL safety Matt Bowen is a veteran of four teams over seven seasons, and now provides analysis for ESPN Insider.

The 2020 NFL draft class isn’t just talented. It’s also loaded with players who fit the modern pro game.

The NFL continues to trend toward personnel with scheme-specific traits and versatility. That means quarterbacks with movement skills and second-reaction ability. It means three-down running backs with pass-catching traits and explosive receivers who can pick up yards after the catch. And it means sub-package defenders who can create an impact from multiple alignments.

Let’s focus on 10 prospects from this class who can be used in today’s pro offensive and defensive systems, starting with the ultimate ready-for-the-modern-NFL player: Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons.

Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson

Why he fits today’s NFL: At 6-foot-4, 238 pounds with 4.39 speed, Simmons has a rare combination of size and speed. His athletic traits simply jump off the film. I see the Clemson product as a safety in base defense, playing in a Quarters/Cover 3 system. He can cut crossers, spin down as a “robber” and roam the perimeter to make plays in space.

However, Simmons’ value is boosted more by his ability to be a movable chess piece in sub-package personnel, where NFL defensive coordinators can maximize his elite traits in nickel and dime sets as a hybrid linebacker/safety. Picture Simmons defending underneath to match up with tight ends, pressuring from an off-the-ball alignment or dropping in coverage to clog up passing lanes. And with his versatile skill set, Simmons can be rotated to depth after the snap to cloud the coverage looks for opposing quarterbacks.

NFL comp: Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers

Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma

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