The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine gathers the best of what college football has to offer in the upcoming draft for all 32 teams to measure, evaluate and investigate to the fullest extent possible without actual pads and contact.
In recent years, the league has taken a stance against violence against women from players and has declined to invite players with previous histories of violations. Perhaps most notably, Joe Mixon.
Mixon likely would have been a first-round draft selection if not for the public outcry surrounding his involvement in a violent incident involving a female, and his lack of availability at the NFL Combine certainly didn’t help matters. He was eventually drafted in the second-round by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2017 NFL Draft.
It was reported Thursday by Nick Shook of NFL.com that the league is taking the same action against two players. Most notably in this duo is Mississippi State’s Jeffery Simmons.
As Shook also mentioned in his writing, Simmons has been recently mocked by both Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks as a first-round draft selection.
Prior to enrolling at Mississippi State, Simmons was convicted of simple assault after hitting a woman in the face several times.
The team and school stood by him, and allowed the five-star recruit to attend and play football for them.
Since then Simmons hasn’t gotten in trouble and appears to have been a model student. On the field for the Bulldogs, he’s racked up double-digit tackles for losses in each of the past two seasons and tallied seven sacks.
It’s hard to tell just how much this will impact Simmons’ draft stock, and NFL teams were likely expecting his lack of invitation to the combine. If they want to discuss his past with him, they’ll have to do so at Mississippi State’s Pro Day in March, or in a private visit after the combine.
Head coach Bruce Arians has been a vocal supporter of people deserving second chances. In the minds of many, Simmons may have already received his second chance when Mississippi State honored their commitment to him.
His success on and off the field may be also be viewed as him making good on his second-chance. But for some, it’s certainly not going to be enough to prove he’s learned from the event and grown past those behaviors.
Simmons is not a Top-5 talent. Beyond trading back, it’s highly unlikely the Buccaneers would take a serious look at selecting the defensive lineman. However, if this latest decision by the league sends him into day two, he’s certainly someone Tampa Bay may target.
We’ve already seen that the second round is an generally accepted time-frame to give those with checkered pasts and exceptional talent the opportunity to overcome their pasts, once and for all.
Should Jeffery Simmons be on the Bucs’ Draft Board given his past?
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