Connect with us


Big plans for Isaiah Simmons? That’s a risky proposition for Giants



Big plans for Isaiah Simmons? That’s a risky proposition for Giants

Isaiah Simmons may not be the most important member of the New York Giants. How new defensive coordinator Shane Bowen chooses to use him is, however, one of the most intriguing things about the 2024 Giants season.

Let’s discuss Simmons as we continue player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.

The skinny

Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 238
Opening day age: 26
Position: Linebacker/safety
Experience: 4
Contract: One-year, $2 million | 2024 cap hit: $2 million | Fully guaranteed: $1.425 million

Career to date

Based on the arc of his NFL career, betting on Simmons to be a central figure on defense has been a risky proposition for NFL coaches.

Simmons has always had freakish athleticism for a 6-foot-4, 238-pound man:

His instincts and production, though, have never matched his athleticism. As such, defensive coordinators have never known exactly what to do with him.

Is he an inside linebacker? An outside linebacker? A slot cornerback? An outside cornerback? A free safety?

He has been all of those things. He has never done any of them proficiently enough to convince a defensive coordinator that is where he belonged. He has never lived up to his billing as the No. 8 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Despite 105 tackles in 2021 and 99 tackles with a career-best 4.0 sacks in 2022, the Arizona Cardinals were so anxious to be rid of him in the final year of his rookie contract that the Giants got him last summer for a paltry seventh-round selection.

Simmons played 377 snaps for the Giants in 2023, mostly as a linebacker in passing situations.

2024 outlook

Answering a question from head Brian Daboll, Bowen responded to the question of how he would try to use Simmons this way:

Bowen’s plan? Use Simmons as a nickel back on early downs and a ‘money backer’ on long-yardage downs.

Simmons has played 710 snaps in the slot during his career. In 2022, when he played a career-high 409 slot snaps, Simmons’ 82.8 passer rating against was 14th among 44 qualifying slot defenders. His Yards per Coverage Snap of 1.01 was also 14th.

If the Giants do proceed with using Simmons extensively in the slot, who loses playing time? Nick McCloud was the first-team slot cornerback for most of the spring. The Giants drafted slot cornerback Andru Phillips in Round 3. If Simmons is in the slot, Phillips is likely on the bench.

It will be fascinating to see how this plays out.

Continue Reading