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Jeffery Simmons Should Be Tampa Bay’s Backup Plan

It’s always a good idea to have a “Plan B”

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Mississippi State vs Iowa
Simmons’ misfortune could turn out to be good fortune for the Bucs.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Every year, it’s the same deal when it comes to the NFL Draft.

We fall in love with a certain prospect coming out of college and regardless of our team’s draft position or where that player is likely to end up, we find ways to concoct scenarios where said certain prospect falls right into said team’s lap.

If you’re a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, you’re likely praying that Quinnen Williams makes it to number five. If you’re a fan of the New England Patriots, it’s probably one of the tight ends out of Iowa. And so on and so forth.

As you can imagine, there are many instances where a coveted player is snatched up by another team.

It gets even worse when multiple players go before a team’s slotted selection.

There is a decent chance that Williams, Nick Bosa, Josh Allen, and Devin White could all be off the board by the time the Bucs make their pick. All four players could instantly contribute and would become immediate starters for Tampa Bay.

One could also argue that any one of those four players would be worth the fifth overall pick in the draft, adding value to the selection on top of immediate impact.

Obviously, the Bucs could still go with an Ed Oliver, Jawaan Taylor, or even a Montez Sweat with the fifth pick - but what if they don’t want to?

And what if I told you the Bucs could trade back and still land one of the most impactful defensive linemen in the draft?

Trading out of a top-five pick in the draft is never a bad idea. The amount of picks (or a variation of picks and a player) accrued by the team trading back is usually well worth the move.

2011 NFL Draft
The Falcons paid a ransom to trade up and take Julio Jones sixth overall.

The Bucs could do just that, trade back, gain extra picks (or a player), and still land an impactful player somewhere in the first round. Remember, the Buffalo Bills gave up two second-round picks in 2018 just to move up five spots in the draft.

If the Bucs were to slide back into the middle of the first round, they’d likely find themselves surrounded by not only a plethora of players that fit the criteria of both need and BPA, but by value as well - making it an ideal situation to be in.

And if they can’t get an impactful defensive lineman in the first round, then there is a strong possibility the could find one in the second round.

His name? Jeffery Simmons.

Heading into the 2019 offseason, Simmons was listed as Mel Kiper Jr.’s 12th best player. Todd McShay had him going to the Jacksonville Jaguars with the seventh pick in the draft.

Unfortunately for Simmons, he tore his ACL while training for the NFL Combine. Much like Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith, whichever team that selects him will have to likely wait a year before it benefits from the selection.

But much like Smith, Simmons could pay off in a big way.

A team like Tampa Bay could also afford to take a flier on the big man, especially if it comes with a shot at filling other needs in the draft. The Bucs could also use help at inside linebacker, EDGE, cornerback, safety, and offensive guard.

There’s also a major risk involved with this scenario, too. Simmons may never be the same again after the injury or it may take longer than anticipated to recover.

The Bucs could also be in dire need of immediate help along the defensive line if - or when -Gerald McCoy is out of the picture. Simmons wouldn’t be able to step in right away and be there for the Bucs, which could really limit the team’s defensive capabilities in 2019.

This type of move also runs counterintuitive to a coaching staff with a “win now” ideology, but sometimes in life, the best things are worth waiting for.

And Simmons may just be worth the wait.

Check out some highlights from Simmons below. The kid is an absolute stud and can be a game-wrecker. He has an intense combination of size, speed, and strength for a big man. He and Vita Vea could form a solid duo for years to come.

Here he is controlling the line of scrimmage against the Kentucky Wildcats. You can see him using his length to control the Wildcats’ offensive linemen and fight through blocks in order to take down the runner. It’s also an outstanding display of lower body strength and control:

This is another display of Simmons’ strength as he bull rushes the center and drives him straight back into the quarterback for a sack. He is the interior defensive linemen at the top wearing 94.

Eat your heart out, Ed Oliver.

And finally, he shows off his quick burst and acceleration here as he shoots through the B gap to take down the quarterback before he could even begin to run.