The Arizona Cardinals decided that they want their versatile defensive player Isaiah Simmons to play at the safety position exclusively for the 2023 NFL season. Simmons was listed as a linebacker in his first three seasons in the NFL.
Simmons became one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2020 draft class for his ability to play multiple positions on defense. This prompted the Cardinals to select him with the eighth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. However, Simmons’ versatility proved to be an issue in the pros.
Cardinals’ coaching staff preferred to have Simmons on the linebacker but also lined him on other positions, including safety and cornerback when needed. As a result, the Clemson product never truly lived up to his potential, and Arizona declined his fifth-year option.
When the Cardinals changed their coaching staff this offseason and hired Jonathan Gannon as their new head coach, Simmons asked to be moved to the safety position as he feels most comfortable there. And Gannon obliged.
“He’s been reliable back there, which is the first trait of safety for me,” Gannon told reporters. “He shows some range and some hitting ability, a little bit of coverage ability, a little bit of downhill striking ability. A long way to go, but I like where he’s at.”
Simmons is currently listed as the third safety on the Cardinals’ depth chart. He has five-time Pro Bowler Budda Baker and veteran Jalen Thompson ahead of him in the pecking order.