Breaking Down LB Deion Jones and DS Justin Simmons

Deion Jones – LB – LSU Jones is a fourth year senior and a one year starter. He got considerable playtime as a backup in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Had a productive year in 2015, leading LSU in tackles with 92 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks. He also had two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. Size – 6006 – 227 – 4.68 Strong Points – Productive in 2015. Has good instincts and reactions. Runs well for a linebacker, Has very good overall athleticism with quick change of directions and overall body control. Very good in coverage. Has a quick drop, can play zone or man and can transition. Good ball skills. Effective blitzer. Weak Points – Lacks ideal size and does not have much growth potential. Just has adequate strength. Not a stout point of attack player. Can give ground to blockers and to runners when tackling. Summation – Jones is a very good college player who has limitations when projecting him to the next level. While he has good instincts, reacts quickly and is around the ball, his lack of size , strength hurt him. He is not stout at the point of attack and can be slow to shed or give ground to blockers. He is more of a go around type who tries to elude blockers. While he is a good tackler, he is not a big hitter and will give ground on tackles. He is best in coverage where he takes good drops and has very good receiver awareness. He can play man or zone, reacts well to the ball and can transition. At this time I don’t see Jones as a potential starter, but he can be a factor as a nickel linebacker because of his coverage skills. He also has very good special teams potential. His best fit is in a 4-3 scheme as a Will linebacker. Justin Simmons – DS – Boston College Simmons is a fourth year senior who has been a full time starter the last two seasons and was a key backup and part time starter his first two seasons. He has started games at both safety and corner. In 2015 he finished the year with 67 total tackles and five interceptions. In 2014 he had 63 total tackles and two interceptions. He has eight career interceptions. Size – 6030 – 203 – 4.57 Strong Points – Very productive. Has top instincts and awareness in coverage. Tall and long with good to very good overall athleticism and good play speed. Plays the ball well and has very good hands. Willing run support player and a consistently good tackler. Has experience as a corner. Can line up and play man on tight ends and running backs. Very good zone player with range and awareness. Weak Points – Has a lean frame and needs to add 10 to 15 pounds. While he is a good hitter he is not an explosive hitter. Not sudden enough to play corner at the next level. Summation – Simmons is a very underrated player. He can be an ideal NFL free safety. He has awareness and range in coverage and reacts very well to the ball in the air. His experience as a corner is helpful in that he can be a very effective man cover guy as a safety. He is a solid run support player and a consistent tackler. The only thing Simmons lacks is great top end speed and some bulk and strength. He has the frame to get bigger and stronger and should once he is involved in an NFL weight program. Overall, I can see Simmons coming in a starting early in his career. His coverage and ball skills are what clubs are now looking for in a free safety. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

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