For most of the six years since the Denver Broncos drafted him in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Justin Simmons has been widely acknowledged as one of the best safeties in the league- arguably the best. But he’s yet to make his NFL playoffs debut due, mostly, to the team’s chronic issues at quarterback and poor offensive coaching.
Along with that, we should hopefully see Simmons start reaping more of the Pro Bowl & All Pro recognition that he richly deserves. He’s been a classic case of an elite guy getting overlooked due to playing on mediocre teams.
That has to be incredibly frustrating for a guy who exudes excellence like Simmons. But you wouldn’t know it from his demeanor. Simmons has made giving back to his community a lifestyle, and his positivity and love for others has made him the face of the franchise for the past several years. He’s also the only three-time winner of the Broncos’ Darrent Williams Good Guy Award, and one of just two Broncos to be nominated three times for the league-wide Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.
#31 Justin Simmons
Weight: 202 lbs
Experience: 7th year
College: Boston College
With a real franchise quarterback in place for the first time in his NFL career, Simmons is poised to have another excellent season- and his first real chance to chase a Lombardi trophy.
How Simmons fits with the Broncos in 2022
Simply put, Simmons’ position as a starter is about as secure as anyone’s could possibly be. While his longtime partner, Kareem Jackson, will face challenges by young guys looking to take over a starting role this season, there’s no question that Simmons will be manning the other starting safety spot.
What will be different, at least versus most of his career, will be the role of a starting safety itself. With the league following Vic Fangio’s lead in putting more and more emphasis on two-high safety concepts, safeties’ roles in the defensive backfield are becoming more similar and the traditional model of strong safety and free safety is eroding. Simmons has arguably been at the forefront of that movement over the last year or two, and with DC Ejiro Evero running a scheme based on Fangio’s, that is likely to continue.
Considering the fact that Simmons notched 4, 5, and 5 interceptions in his 3 years in Fangio’s defense, that bodes well for another great season by the 2x 2nd Team All Pro.
Justin Simmons was just voted the best safety in the NFL by league executives, players, scouts, and coaches. I think me calling him Top 5 here isn’t unreasonable.— Nick Kendell (@NickKendellMHH) July 14, 2022
But I’m all about the homeristic hot takes. That’s my brand. https://t.co/VpHU5weysU
At 28 years old, Simmons is in the best of his prime. We can all look forward to seeing him frustrate receivers, tight ends, and quarterbacks alike this year. And with any luck we’ll get to see an end to the frustration of not getting to watch him on the big stage that is the playoffs.
With three years left on his current deal, including the upcoming season, Simmons’ place with the Broncos is secure for the foreseeable future. And based on how things have gone for him so far, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Simmons become one of the rare non-QBs to earn a third contract with the team in 2024 or 2025. I’d certainly like to see the team take advantage of all of the five or six years of top quality play he should have ahead of him.
“One of the best safeties - if not the best safety - in the league.” @jsimms1119 makes his debut on the NFL Top 100!— NFL (@NFL) August 20, 2021
: #NFLTop100 continues on Sunday, Aug. 22 at 4pm ET on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/Uwe1HsER6P
In the meantime, we can be sure that Simmons will be working hard on his craft- and working hard to help his community. If you’re so inclined, check out his foundation and follow it on Twitter or Instagram to stay informed on how he’s working in the community!
Where would you rank Justin Simmons among the NFL’s top safeties?
This poll is closed
1st : He’s the best of the best.
2nd - 5th : Elite, but not the absolute best.
6th - 10th : Excellent, but not elite.
11th+ : I’m a rival fan & still upset about what Simmons did to my QB/team.