One of the common denominators of the Miami Dolphins offseason so far is versatility.
Ted Karras, also from NE, has experience at guard and center.
Shaq Lawson from the Buffalo Bills has experience at defensive end, interior, and linebacker.
Ereck Flowers from the Redskins has experience at offensive tackle and guard.
Head coach Brian Flores is all about versatility, especially in his defense. It’s been a focus since his first training camp as a member of the Miami Dolphins. It’s one of the reasons why former 1st-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick was traded away to the Pittsburgh Steelers last season.
And if Flores values defensive versatility so much, he and Grier are probably giving a good look at Clemson’s linebacker Isaiah Simmons.
Simmons is labeled as a linebacker, but he’s really a Swiss Army Knife on the field. He can play linebacker, safety, slot cornerback, defensive line… You name it, he can probably do it for you.
All this capability is due to his freakish physical talent. At the Combine, Simmons was listed as 6’4, 238lbs, with a stream-lined frame, lengthy arms, and long legs that help to cover ground quickly (completed 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds).
And he can do it while creating statistical production— 104 tackles, 16.5 for loss, 3 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles in 2019.
Simmons is listed as one of the top talents in this year’s draft class.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) April 10, 2020
Here is NFL.com’s analyst Lance Zierlein’s overview of Isaiah Simmons:
“Ascending hybrid talent with rare length, speed and versatility to create mismatches for the offense, depending upon alignment. He has a bachelor’s at three positions (slot corner, safety, linebacker) but could earn a master’s degree in complex workload with a more focused and defined job description than ‘jack-of-all-trades.’ He can handle zone or man coverage from a variety of spots on the field, which gives defensive coordinators a chance to disguise blitz packages and exotic post-snap looks. He’ll miss run fits and can be misdirected due to a lack of instincts near the line, but his playmaking range outweighs those concerns for now. His unique potential to spy and shrink the field against dual-threat quarterbacks could push him way up the draft board.”
The question is: does Flores value versatility enough to willingly invest a Top-5 pick into a player other than quarterback? Because Simmons seems like the type of player who would make Flores’ defensive dreams come true.
And do the Dolphins believe they can play Simmons all over the defensive side of the field and still achieve all that 1st-round production at a pro level like Simmons had the past 2 seasons at Clemson?
The Dolphins in 2018 and under Flores in 2019, got good nickel-play out of former 1st-rounder Minkah Fitzpatrick. But Fitzpatrick didn’t achieve his potential to change games with ballhawking ability until he was able to play at his true position as a safety in Pittsburgh.
So how much does Flores value versatility?
Does he want an elite talent with multiple capabilities?
Or would he and Grier prefer to wait down the draft board to find a good, but not great, player with a “jack of all trades” ability?