Simpson's athleticism fits the hybrid role of a guy that can effectively blitz or rush with speed, but also play sideline to sideline and cover the seam. He'd be a dream player in Quincy or Kwon's roles.
Simpson, the son of a decorated U.S. Army Ranger that has served 17 tours overseas, is a unique athlete for the linebacker position.
His 4.43 timed speed shows up on tape, where he can run sideline to sideline, explode downhill on a blitz or even wreck a play from the backside. His instincts aren’t perfect, but when he diagnoses a play it doesn’t stand a chance due to his burst. He strikes ball carriers with violence.
Simpson’s evaluation takes more projection than most. Clemson’s usage of him didn’t put him in a favorable position. He simply doesn’t have the size to live at MIKE linebacker. He got lost in traffic or bullied by climbing offensive lineman at times. His best plays are where he’s given more freedom as an outside linebacker.
In coverage, his awareness is a work in progress. His speed allows him to erase running backs trying to work the flats. He can run the seam with any tight end, he just needs to anticipate routes at a better rate.
An NFL staff that has a plan for Simpson could make him a unique weapon in the front seven. His acceleration should at a minimum give him more blitzing opportunities, if not a hybrid pass rush role altogether.
Playing alongside a traditional thumping middle ‘backer would grant him the freedom he didn’t have at Clemson to make more explosive plays. He’s firmly in the top half of the second round for me.