Do-it-all defender Isaiah Simmons posts blistering 4.39 in 40-yard dash

INDIANAPOLIS — Clemson do-it-all defender Isaiah Simmons was the brightest star of the night Saturday at the NFL scouting combine.

Simmons, who lined up almost everywhere at some point in the Clemson defense, was put with the linebackers in the on-field workouts at the combine. And he blistered the turf inside Lucas Oil Stadium with, at 6-foot-3⅝ and 238 pounds, a 4.39-second clocking in the 40-yard dash.

It was the second-fastest 40 time for a linebacker at the combine since 2006, behind only Shaquem Griffin, who ran a 4.38 at the 2018 combine. Simmons, however, weighed in 11 pounds heavier and is 3⅝ inches taller than Griffin was at the combine.

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Whether Simmons actually is called a linebacker in the NFL remains to be seen, as some teams see him as a potential safety who could move down to linebacker in some personnel groupings. This past season, Simmons lined up on the defensive line, at linebacker, as a nickel cornerback and safety at times for the Tigers.

When asked earlier this week what he says when people ask him what position he plays, he replied: “Defense.”

Simmons, who earned his degree in December, finished this past season as the Butkus Award winner as the nation’s best linebacker, as well as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year. He had 102 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, eight sacks and three interceptions.

Simmons also had a 39-inch vertical jump at the combine to go with an 11-foot broad jump. The vertical was tied for second best among the linebackers and the broad jump was best among the linebackers.

“I know years ago it wasn’t good to be a positionless guy,” Simmons said earlier this week. “But now it’s become a benefit for me just because of all the versatility I’ll be able to do, play linebacker, play safety, whatever it is, I feel like it just helps me out.”

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