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New York Giants 2024 Training Camp Preview: Isaiah Simmons, S/ILB



New York Giants 2024 Training Camp Preview: Isaiah Simmons, S/ILB

When the New York Giants acquired one-time eight-overall pick Isaiah Simmons last summer from the Arizona Cardinals for a seventh-round draft pick, many believed they got a steal. Simmons, an inside linebacker/hybrid safety, wasn’t used to his full potential during his time in Arizona, prompting many to believe he’d finally fit in a system with the Giants.

It took some time once he arrived in New York, but eventually, Simmons began to earn more snaps, playing all over the field on defense and getting some quality special teams snaps. 

Initially, it didn’t look as though the Giants would bring Simmons, who became an unrestricted free agent after last season, back. Still, they did so after it became known that new defensive coordinator Shane Bowen had a specific role in mind for the 25-year-old linebacker.

Height: 6-4
Weight: 238 lbs.
EXP: 5 years
School: Clemson
How acquired: T-ARI

Simmons’ first year with the Giants was eventful despite appearing in only 33 percent of defensive snaps. He recorded 50 tackles (two tackles for loss), three pass deflections, one sack, and one interception returned for a touchdown. 

Simmons also had a strong special teams presence, appearing in 49 percent of snaps, with six total tackles. He also extended his ironman streak, appearing in 17 games for the Giants last season. Simmons has not missed a game since being drafted in 2020, playing in all 67 possible games during his career thus far.

Former defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, notorious for his heavy blitz schemes, sent Simmons on 54 blitzes last season, the second-highest total of the linebacker’s career.

By the end of the year, Simmons had increased his defense snap count to 40 (from the teens early on), not to mention his special teams snaps. His best role on defense was lining up on the edge from where he filled numerous roles. 

Simmons’ cap number for this year is $2 million, with  $1.125 million of that guaranteed. He has a base salary of $1,275,000 and a signing bonus of $300,000. Simmons also has a $300,000 per-game bonus and a $100,000 workout bonus.

A former 8th overall pick, Simmons’ lack of physicality and instinct don’t bode well for him being an every-down starter, but in specialized roles (e.g., nickel pass coverage with the occasional blitz) his incredible height/speed combination can be a weapon.

With his long strides, long arms, and athleticism, he covers an incredible amount of space, something that new defensive coordinator Shane Bowen no doubt recognized when he reviewed Simmons’s film.  

Bowen revealed in a Hard Knocks episode that he envisioned the linebacker in the team’s nickel on first and second downs and then playing the “money” role on third. This variety of responsibilities set up Simmons to put his best skills to use on the Giants defense, where he is potentially on the verge of a big role this season.  

The “money” role is interesting and something Giants fans have seen before with Deone Buccannon and, more recently, Tony Jefferson in 2022. Simmons will likely be asked to play down near the box and rush the passer on third down, but he could drop back into coverage if needed to add an extra body in the secondary. With how athletic Simmons is, this could be the perfect role for him. 

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