ATLANTA, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Trenton Simpson #22 wears the Old Leather Helmet after their 41-10 win over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 05, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 05: Trenton Simpson #22 wears the Old Leather Helmet after their 41-10 win over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 05, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Trenton Simpson Will Revolutionize NFL Defenses

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Trenton Simpson…

I’ve never seen a linebacker like him in 40 years.

He’s like Visa…

This Clemson defender is everywhere you want him to be.

It was fun to watch his elite range, athleticism, and his close into the pocket.

Simpson will be a dream come true for the NFL defensive coordinator who lands him.

Simpson has incredible versatility

He’s like a safety and corner hiding in the body of a linebacker, who showed up just at that right time on the NFL’s timeline.

He is exactly what is needed in a league that loves the short-to-intermediate passing game and outside tackle runs.

This is where Simpson thrives.

I’ve never seen a linebacker who plays in the box, slides out and covers a slot, and can roll back to safety.

Simpson literally lines up all over the field.

He can also outmuscle the slot and blow up running back screens before they get started.

He’s a defensive chess piece that will help to neutralize the direction NFL offenses have been trending.

Simpson can blitz

Don’t forget, he can blitz too.

This is where he gets really interesting.

He can cheat up and show blitz pre-snap, but then back out of it and roll into coverage – – or he can knife in off the edge or work unblocked up inside and be disruptive.

Simpson can get to the quarterback.

He can close and adjust in the pocket like a heat-seeking missile.

Mr. Personality

All you have to do is take a look at him in that leather helmet or his featured ESPN picture to see the kind of star power he has.

Simpson looks like he is fun to be around and fun to have around.

Players like this move the meter.

Is there anything Simpson can’t do?

Sure there is.

In the words of former San Francisco 49ers’ legendary Scouting Director, Tony Razzano, “There are no 10s.”

I learned how to scout by reading Razzano’s book when I was 17, and that is something that has always stuck with me.

Simpson has a hard time overcoming the big boys banging around in the trenches. Sometimes this causes Simpson to get lost on game film, but not too often.

Just had to throw this in there, and keep real before I make Simpson sound too epic.

#22 Trenton Simpson 6-foot-3, 240 pounds

Daniel Kelly’s Grade: First-Round – Early Fall 2022 Report

First Round Mock Big Board: TBD

Projected by 74.7% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of October 3, 2022 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

2021 game film reviewed: South Carolina, Georgia and Wake Forest (click to watch games viewed to form this evaluation)

Level of competition: High

2021 stats: 65 tackles (41 solo, 24 assists), 2 passes defended, 6.0 sacks (31 pressures on 90 pass rush attempts pff.com)

NFL comparable: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report:

Athletic versatile defensive jack-of-all-trades who has top-shelf blitz and coverage ability. Last season, played 207 snaps in the box, 225 snaps in the slot and 117 at the line of scrimmage (pff.com). Drops into short-level zones against the pass. Excellent range to get to sidelines and to provide intermediate route level support. Can blow up screens and bubble routes. Will line up vs. slot in man and can carry short range. Fluid hips, can change direction, and uses hands in coverage. Can destroy slot receivers and impede their release. Quarterback-minded with fast close and ability to make quick adjustments. Disruptive inside when unblocked. Struggles disengaging. Can get moved out of his apartment. Does his best to fight through the trash on runs. Tends to come in high, but he is a strong wrapping tackler. Shows emotion. Gets fired up. Elite level difference maker.

What to watch for during the 2022 college football season:

  1. Does he come in lower on tackles?
  2. How does he look taking on blocks?
  3. Does he put himself in better position to make run stops?
  4. Is he able to put together back-to-back seasons of high level sack and pressure production?

Simpson will be fun to watch at the next level.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated New York Jets and he is the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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