Arizona Cardinals: Rookie expectations for the 2020 season

Arizona Cardinals draft pick, Isaiah Simmons (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Arizona Cardinals draft pick, Isaiah Simmons (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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Isaiah Simmons, 2020 NFL Draft
Arizona Cardinals rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Vance Joseph’s newest weapon Isaiah Simmons

During his time with Clemson, Isaiah Simmons had no limits playing every defensive position except defensive tackle. According to Pro Football Focus, he lined up at free safety 132 times, in the box 299 times, on the line 116 times, at slot corner 262 and 13 times out outside corner. Now, to believe in year one with the Cardinals Simmons would play all these positions is a fantasy. For him to be successful they will have to have him start with a couple of focuses.

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph has made it clear that he will be used first as an inside linebacker where he can show off his pursuit and tackling skills but that should not be his limit for the 2020 season. He is outstanding in coverage and will help the atrocious tight end defense the Cardinals have put on the field in the past.

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Simmons will get the duties, with the help of De’Vondre Campbell, of covering George Kittle, Tyler Higbee, Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister against the divisional opponents this year.

Simmons also has shown great pass-rushing ability and would make sense coming off the edge in certain packages. Under general manager Steve Keim, the Cardinals have been willing to play aggressive and blitz the quarterback early and often. This has been proven by securing the third-highest blitz percentage in the league last season even with injuries and suspensions on the back end of the defense.

With a more experienced Jalen Thompson and a projected full season with Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford, the Arizona Cardinals should be able to send more pressure in 2020 which should include Simmons speed.