In an unexpected move, the New York Giants have acquired Isaiah Simmons from the Arizona Cardinals in a trade that is being called low-risk, high-reward. The Giants gave up a seventh-round pick in the 2024 draft to acquire the talented but positionally uncertain Simmons.
Simmons, who was the eighth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, has shown promise but has struggled to find his true position on the field. He played safety for the Cardinals in their recent preseason game, but has played multiple positions on defense throughout his career.
The Giants plan to use the 6-foot-4, 238-pound Simmons as a linebacker in their defense. However, the team does not expect him to immediately take on a starting role alongside Bobby Okereke. Instead, they envision Simmons as a hybrid player who can excel in defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s system.
According to one NFC executive, Simmons is a “really talented athlete, but an average football player.” However, the Giants believe that Martindale is the right coach to unlock Simmons’ full potential.
Martindale runs a “positionless defense” and will have the challenge of finding the best role for Simmons. Despite his lack of a defined position, Simmons has put up impressive numbers in his career, with 105 tackles in 2021 and 95 tackles last season. He has also defended seven passes in each of the past two years.
Giants coach Brian Daboll expressed his excitement about the trade, stating that Simmons brings athleticism, explosiveness, and versatility to the team. The plan is to use Simmons as a sub-package linebacker, similar to how the Giants utilized safety Tony Jefferson last season.
However, getting Simmons to embrace his role as a linebacker may be a challenge. Earlier this summer, Simmons expressed his preference for playing safety, where he excelled in college at Clemson. But with a new regime in Arizona, Simmons was unable to secure the safety position.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding Simmons, the Giants are optimistic about his potential. The fact that they were able to acquire him for just a seventh-round pick speaks to the league’s current perception of him. Additionally, Simmons is in the final year of his rookie contract, as the Cardinals declined his fifth-year option earlier this year.
For the Giants, it’s all about tapping into Simmons’ untapped talent and using his athleticism in their blitz-heavy defensive scheme. With 7.5 career sacks, four interceptions, and seven forced fumbles, Simmons has shown flashes of his potential impact on the field.
General manager Joe Schoen is optimistic about Simmons’ fit with the Giants, expressing confidence in the team’s ability to teach him their defensive system. The hope is that Simmons will finally find his place in New York and fulfill his potential as a top-tier defensive player.
Only time will tell if this trade will pay off for the Giants, but they are willing to take the risk and see if they can unlock the full potential of this talented but enigmatic player.
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