With the release of kicker Brandon McManus, safety Justin Simmons became the longest-tenured Bronco. That also means there are no remaining members of the Super Bowl 50 winning squad on the roster, but I digress...
Per USA Today’s Draft Wire, Simmons was ranked as the 5th-best safety in the 2016 draft class. Ranked ahead of Simmons were Karl Joseph, Von Bell, and Keanu Neal (all three of whom Simmons has drastically outshined and outperformed career-wise.) Jalen Ramsey was listed as the number one safety, but he has since converted to a cornerback in the NFL, so we will disregard him with the comparison.
It didn’t take long for Simmons to show the Broncos they made the correct decision taking him in the third round.
In November 2016, the rookie safety made an unbelievable game-saving play against the New Orleans Saints. Simmons managed to leap over the offensive line and block an extra point attempt by Saints kicker Will Lutz. Will Parks was able to recover the ball, and ran it all the way back for a game-winning safety.
Since then, Simmons has firmly established himself as one of the league’s best safeties. Simmons has earned second-team All-Pro honors three times (2019, 2021, and 2022), was voted to a Pro Bowl (2020), and led the league in interceptions (2022.)
Height: 6’2” | Weight: 202 lbs
College: Boston College
Exp: 8 years
Safety Justin Simmons’ 2023 outlook
It’s easy to say that Simmons has become the face of the Broncos franchise. Captain patches have yet to be handed out, but expect Simmons to be chosen as one of the captains for the 2023 season.
Simmons recently suffered a groin injury in training camp. Head Coach Sean Payton didn’t provide a timeline on how long Simmons will be out, but that the team will be “smart” regarding his workload.
So we may not see much of Simmons in the preseason, but we don’t really need to, honestly. He’s the defacto starter at safety when healthy. If anything, Simmons absence might grant the Broncos a chance to take a deeper look at the safety depth guys, like Caden Sterns, Delarrin Turner-Yell, PJ Locke, and JL Skinner
Hopefully, Simmons will be able to start the regular season healthy. Should he stay healthy for the entirety of the season, Simmons will play a key piece in the Broncos’ dominant secondary. Maybe we are looking at another season where Simmons leads the league in interceptions?