It's that time of the year again. Mile High Report begins our annual 90 players in 90 days roster breakdown. Last year went fairly well, but starting today and through August 27th, we'll break down every player on the Denver Broncos roster.
Name: Justin Simmons
Height: 6'2" Weight: 202
Age: 22 Experience: R
College: Boston College
The Denver Broncos drafted former Boston College standout, safety Justin Simmons in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Simmons was popular among many draftnik's prior to the draft because of his rare blend of size, speed, range, wingspan, ball-hawking ability, and athleticism. Some people even believe Simmons in the third round was a steal and that the Broncos have a player who can contribute right away and become a future star.
During Simmons four seasons at Boston College, he totaled 229 total tackles, 4 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, 8 interceptions, 9 pass deflections, 4 fumble recoveries and 2 forced fumbles. This past season he totaled 67 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, 5 interceptions, 1 pass deflection, 3 fumble recoveries, and 1 forced fumble.
Now Justin Simmons joins the Denver Broncos 'No Fly Zone' and has a great opportunity to play from day one on. Denver Broncos General Manager explained Simmon's role with the Broncos the night they drafted him. He said the addition of Simmons will allow them to leave safety T.J. Ward to stay in the box.
"He is a big, rangy guy that can play centerfield and we can leave T.J. Ward in the box. He also has played some corner, so he has cover ability which we really liked."
I think we will see a lot of three safety looks from the Broncos this season. Darian Stewart and Justin Simmons as your safeties, and Brandon Marshall and T.J. Ward playing linebacker in certain sub-packages. This will help the Broncos fill the hole left behind Danny Trevathan at linebacker.
Before any of this can materialize, Simmons will have to learn the playbook and get used to the NFL game. Well, according to Broncos starting safety Darian Stewart, Simmons is getting better every day.
"He’s looked good. He’s getting the playbook down and getting more comfortable. He is going to be out there with us. The more comfortable he gets, it’ll be better for us."
"The more comfortable he gets, it'll be better for us".
That comment right there says everything we need to know about Simmon's role with the Broncos this season. He's going to be important, and the more comfortable he is the better the already great Broncos secondary will be
Simmon's measurables are hard to ignore. He's 6'2", 202lb with 33" arms. He also jumped out of the roof during February's Scouting Combine. He had a 40-inch vertical jump and 126-inch broad jump. Simmons ended up being a top performer in both of those categories.
He has all the size, speed, and athletic traits you look for in a ball hawking safety. Add in his versatility and you probably have a very good football player.
Denver Broncos Head Coach Gary Kubiak raved about his size/athleticism and versatility after the Broncos drafted him.
"I’m sure you’ve seen this guy’s measurables. They’re off the charts the way he can run, jump, those types of things. Obviously he’s going to fill a lot of roles on our football team, but the biggest thing he gives us is the ability defensively to have some flexibility with T.J. being a box player and ‘Stew’ being in the middle of the field. This kid can come down either way. You want flexibility at safety in this league. Guys have to be able to cover. They have to be able to come down into the box and do those types of things. He’s a very smart young man, so we’ve added a big piece to the puzzle. Obviously with losing Bruton this is a great get for us as a team."
As Kubiak said, Simmons is a "big piece of the puzzle". He will see time in three-safety looks and has the size and athleticism to cover some of the best tight ends in the NFL. Like Bruton, he can also play some special teams as well. So we will be seeing a lot of Simmons this upcoming season.
His coverage ability is there and he is also a willing and capable tackler. He isn't a big hitter, but will wrap up his man and take him down.
There is a lot to like about Justin Simmons.
I really do not have much to put here.
My only real concern is his skinny frame. He doesn't have much room to add some needed bulk, so he might struggle tackling some of the bigger and stronger players in the NFL.
Outside of that, he just needs to adjust to the NFL. The quicker he does that, the larger his role will be on this defense.
Justin Simmons on joining the Denver Broncos 'No Fly Zone' secondary
"I'm excited. I don't even know how else to explain it. When I got the call last night, I was just praying that I was saying the right words so I didn't mess anything up. Coming in here and learning from guys like T.J. Ward, Darian Stewart and a whole bunch of other guys back there that do such an amazing job and communicate so well and obviously are huge veteran leaders on this team—for a young guy like me to come in, that's where I want to be after four or five, six years in the league. Those are the guys that I want to be and that I'm looking up to. So coming in here and making sure that I work my absolute hardest to earn my spot on the team and earn my role and to make sure I'm helping out in the best way I can."
I think Simmons can turn into an impact player for the Broncos very soon. As we know, the Broncos secondary is already elite, but really doesn't have a ball-hawking threat roaming around out there. Ward and Stewart have their share of interceptions, but their game is being physical. Simmon's game is coverage and being a ball hawk. Add in the Broncos elite pass rush and he should have plenty of opportunities to come down with a number of interceptions this season.
Obviously, I am high on Simmons, but it is hard not to be. He will get plenty of playing time and has the potential to grow into a Pro Bowl caliber player down the road.