Cardinals LB Isaiah Simmons’ PFF rating falls after loss to Patriots

Dec 5, 2020, 11:35 AM
Linebacker Isaiah Simmons #48 of the Arizona Cardinals warms up before the NFL game against the Buf...
Linebacker Isaiah Simmons #48 of the Arizona Cardinals warms up before the NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at State Farm Stadium on November 15, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Bills 32-30. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona Cardinals rookie Isaiah Simmons’ season-long Pro Football Focus ranking took a hit after a rough go against the New England Patriots on Sunday.

The former Clemson Tiger saw his overall rating fall to 63.2 for the year after grading between 29.7 and 42.2 in defense, run defense and tackling against the Patriots on a scale that runs from 1-100.

Simmons had ranked between 64.6 and 84.3 in those three categories in his previous three starts against Miami, Buffalo and Seattle.

The football analytics site said that Simmons’ score reflected his lack of playing time combined with two 15-yard penalties on New England scoring drives in the Cardinals’ 20-17 loss on Sunday.

After a few weeks with a much bigger workload on defense, the unique offense that is the New England Patriots forced Isaiah Simmons back into a bit-part player. He finished with a poor grade (29.7 overall) thanks to some big mistakes on those limited snaps.

Despite his recent setbacks, Simmons is still the second-ranked non-quarterback drafted in the top-10 of this year’s draft.

His 63.2 rating among non-QBs ranks behind Washington Football Team pass-rusher Chase Young, who has a 75.3 rating this season.

Former LSU Tigers wideout Justin Jefferson leads all first-round picks with a 90.1 rating for the season, followed by Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, who has a 79.1 rating to-date.

Former ASU Sun Devils receiver Brandon Aiyuk has the third-highest rating of any 2020 first-round pick, putting up a 79.0 mark with the San Francisco 49ers.

Simmons, meanwhile, still has time to improve with more reps down the stretch by avoiding costly mistakes like the pair of personal fouls he picked up during the New England game.

Simmons was flagged twice for unnecessary roughness, once early in the game on Jakobi Meyers and once to tack 15 yards on to a Cam Newton run on the final drive that handed the Patriots the chance to win the game. On top of that, Simmons also lost badly to a lead block by Jakob Johnson and missed a tackle on Damien Harris. He just didn’t have the playing time to find positive plays to offset all of those negatives.

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