Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons amplifies NFL draft buzz with blazing 4.39-second 40-yard dash at combine

Isaiah Simmons didn't need a second attempt at the 40-yard dash.

The 6-4, 238-pound Clemson linebacker made quite the statement Saturday at the NFL scouting combine, clocking a 4.39-second mark. He opted not to run again after his first attempt.

Simmons' finish was second-best of any linebacker at the combine since 2006 behind only former UCF standout Shaquem Griffin (4.38). 

For comparison, no running back notched a faster time than the one Simmons registered, with Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor being the lone ball-carrier to equal the mark. Only four wide receivers in this year's event were faster.

Simmons also chose not to participate in on-field drills after his 40. 

Simmons, who was projected to be a top-10 pick in USA TODAY Sports' pre-combine mock draft, also had an 11-0 broad jump (second among all linebackers) and a 39-inch vertical leap.

After winning state titles in the long jump in high school, Simmons went on to become a versatile piece at Clemson who took on a different number of roles en route to become ACC defensive player of the year and a first-team All-American. Amid questions about how he would fit into various teams NFL schemes, Simmons said at the combine his position was simply "defense."

"The game is evolving. The name of the game now is stopping tight ends," Simmons said this week. "Something has to be done to stop the Travis Kelces and George Kittles out there.

"Linebackers playing man (coverage) on running backs. The game's no longer a 250-pound linebacker, it's more guys that can run side to side and are able to cover. It's just such a necessity now with the tight ends and running backs."

Follow Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz.

Source: Read Full Article