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.

Arizona Cardinals

Trey Benson participates in the 2024 NFL Draft Combine...

Tyler Drake

Cardinals training camp battles: Trey Benson vs. Michael Carter

The battle at RB2 between rookie Trey Benson and veteran Michael Carter could end being one of the tightest this training camp.

14 hours ago

Kenyan Drake...

Arizona Sports

Former Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake announces retirement from NFL

Kenyan Drake, who picked up over 1,500 rushing yards across two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, announced his retirement on Friday.

14 hours ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Which Arizona sports legend was left off the top 100 athletes since 2000? #cardinals #nfl

ESPN released the final tier of its top 100 athletes since 2000 and Burns & Gambo can't help but notice one Arizona Cardinals legend was missing from the list entirely.

2 days ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Arizona sports icons on (and snubbed from) top 100 athletes since 2000 ranking

ESPN released the final tier of its top 100 athletes since 2000 and while Olympian Michael Phelps took the No. 1 spot and Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi finished among the top 25, Burns & Gambo can't help but notice one Arizona Cardinals legend was missing from the list entirely.

2 days ago

Clayton Tune and Desmond Ridder get reps in during offseason work...

Tyler Drake

Cardinals training camp battles: Desmond Ridder vs. Clayton Tune for QB2

After covering WR2 and left guard, it's time to dive into the Cardinals' QB2 battle between Desmond Ridder and Clayton Tune.

2 days ago

Darius Robinson gets a drink of water...

Ryan Pasiecznik

The Athletic’s biggest question for Cardinals centers around run defense

The Cardinals have question marks at multiple spots on the field. But what is the biggest? The Athletic's Scoop City Podcast took a look.

2 days ago

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