GLENDALE, Ariz. —
With the 8th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals selected former Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons.
Simmons made waves during his performance at the NFL Combine. After the combine, it was speculated that Simmons was a lock to go in the top 5 of the NFL Draft, but different scenarios led to Simmons falling into Arizona’s lap at No. 8.
The 6’4”, 240-pound linebacker is a swiss army knife in the defense with the ability to play multiple positions in different sets.
In his sophomore season, Simmons led Clemson in tackles on their way to a national championship with 89 total stops, nine tackles for loss and three forced fumbles. That got him on the national radar for his junior season, when he recorded 102 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, eight sacks, three interceptions and nine pass breakups, earning the Butkus Award for the nation’s top linebacker.
Simmons joins a Cardinals defense that ranked dead last in total defense in 2019, despite sending two defenders to the Pro Bowl in Chandler Jones and Budda Baker.
The Cardinals have made several impact moves at defense during free agency, adding linebackers Devon Kennard and De'Vondre Campbell as well as defensive tackle Jordan Phillips.
The Cardinals have had a nearly perfect offseason, filling key needs in free agency including the additions of Jordan Phillips at defensive tackle, Devon Kennard at linebacker and All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
Arizona had no obvious needs going into the draft, giving GM Steve Keim plenty of options on what to do with the 8th pick.
Keim spoke with reporters last week and showed the team was open to a lot of different players and situations.