ARIZONA CARDINALS

Isaiah Simmons selected No. 8 in NFL Draft by Arizona Cardinals

Apr 23, 2020, 6:18 PM | Updated: Apr 24, 2020, 8:29 am
Clemson's Isaiah Simmons (11) and Denzel Johnson react after making a defensive play during the fir...
Clemson's Isaiah Simmons (11) and Denzel Johnson react after making a defensive play during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Florida State, in Clemson, S.C. Simmons was selected to The Associated Press All-Atlantic Coast Conference football team, and named Defensive Player of the Year, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro, File)
(AP Photo/Richard Shiro, File)

The Arizona Cardinals have selected Clemson hybrid defender Isaiah Simmons with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and now it’s a matter of how they’ll use the versatile playmaker.

Does he join a group of inside linebackers that includes Jordan Hicks and De’Vondre Campbell, the latter of whom signed a one-year deal with Arizona this offseason?

Or does Simmons slide to safety, where he can team with two-time Pro Bowler Budda Baker and second-year pro Jalen Thompson? Does Simmons do both?

He doesn’t fit any positional archetype at 6-foot-4 and 238 pounds.

He’s got edge-rushing explosiveness and size with cover skills of a defensive back. He didn’t slot into one role in college, playing over 100 snaps at each of five positions, per Pro Football Focus.

“He’s a safety. He flips his hips, he runs with these guys, he turns,” ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf. “You’ve got to cover these tight ends like (the Chiefs’ Travis) Kelce and these elite tight ends like (the 49ers’ George) Kittle. The Ravens live and die with Mark Andrews … their whole offense revolves around him.

“These are wide receivers in a tight end frame. I think Isaiah Simmons’ role will be that: neutralize the go-to tight end, H-back, whatever you want to call them. He can get after the quarterback as well.”

Keim surely hasn’t been afraid to go against the general draft trends or draft positionless players with high draft picks.

Kyler Murray was a quarterback shorter than 5-foot-11 and went first overall to the Cardinals last year. In 2014, Arizona drafted Washington State safety Deone Bucannon and converted him into a versatile inside linebacker that, to some degree, also changed the way NFL teams viewed the position.

A year before that, during Keim’s first year on the job, the GM drafted cornerback-slash-safety Tyrann Mathieu in the third round and watched over the next few years as he developed into one of the league’s premier slot corners.

Life Changer Loans

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals WR Rondale Moore warms up ahead of practice Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, in Tempe. (T...
Nikash Nath

Pro Football Focus: Rondale Moore is Cardinals’ most intriguing player

PFF's Ari Meirov went through all 32 NFL teams' rosters and selected one player from each team as their most "intriguing player."
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals' Greg Dortch runs drills during the NFL football team's training camp at State Fa...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals notebook: Greg Dortch among Red & White practice standouts

Greg Dortch continues to impress over the course of training camp, with his most recent showing coming during the Red & White practice.
12 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals DL Kingsley Keke looks on during OTAs on Monday, June 6, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler D...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Cardinals DT Kingsley Keke placed in COVID-19 protocols

Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Kingsley Keke has been placed in COVID-19 protocols, head coach Kliff Kingbury said at practice Saturday.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray runs sprints during the NFL football team's training cam...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals’ Kyler Murray back from COVID-19 stint for Red & White practice

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was back on the practice field ahead of Saturday's Red & White practice.
1 day ago
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals warms up before the game against the Chicago Bears at Sold...
Wills Rice

PFF ranks Cardinals’ Kyler Murray as No. 2 ranked fantasy QB for 2022

Pro Football Focus' Dwain McFarland ranked Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray as the No. 2 fantasy quarterback for 2022.
1 day ago
Zach Ertz #86 of the Arizona Cardinals runs the ball after a catch during the second quarter agains...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals’ Zach Ertz a top-15 TE on PFF’s preseason rankings

Pro Football Focus devised its preseason tight end rankings and listed Zach Ertz in Tier 3 at No. 15 overall.
2 days ago
Isaiah Simmons selected No. 8 in NFL Draft by Arizona Cardinals