Isaiah Simmons

NFL Draft 2020: Isaiah Simmons, Jalen Hurts among combine's big winners

NFL Draft 2020: Isaiah Simmons, Jalen Hurts among combine's big winners

The Underwear Olympics have come and gone, and the number of prospects made themselves some money last week in Indianapolis. 

Isaiah Simmons was the star. The Clemson linebacker is 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, ran a 4.39 40-yard dash time, can play all over the field and made Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther chuckle in excitement.

He can play all over the field and is the perfect prospect for the new age of the NFL. Simmons came in as a top prospect and only solidified his spot in the top 10.

We know Simmons was a winner at the NFL Scouting Combine. We also know the Raiders would love to have him and unless they plan to trade up, he won't be wearing silver and black.

There a number of other winners coming in right behind Simmons, who surely caught the Raiders' eye this past week. 

Let's take a look at a six other combine winners who should be moving up the Raiders' draft board.

Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma

I've written a lot about Hurts this last week. He met with the Raiders and the team, by all accounts loves him. He's got the tools to be a dynamic weapon in the modern NFL and is a seamless fit for the Raiders.

Hurts then went out and knocked the combine out of the park.

He shined in the interview rooms and showed improved footwork and delivery in the throwing portion.

He also ran a 4.59 40-yard dash to showcase the athleticism and speed that are key for quarterbacks to have in today's NFL.

If Hurts still is there in Round 3, the Raiders should pounce. 

Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma

At 6-4, 302 pounds, Neville Gallimore is a load inside. But he also showed freaky athleticism that's going to see him shooting up draft boards.

He's got the power, yes, but he also has uncanny speed for someone that size. He ran a 4.79 40 and then flashed some agility as well.

Not natural.

Gallimore made himself a lot of money this week. A pairing with the Raiders is unlikely, but don't be surprised if he becomes an option at No. 19.

Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame

Tight end. Wide receiver. It doesn't matter, just stick Chase Claypool on the field and watch him torment defenses.

The 6-foot-4, 238-pound receiver dazzled at the combine, running a blistering 4.42 40-yard dash to become just the second receiver to run a sub 4.45 40 at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds or more. The other was Calvin Johnson

The Raiders need weapons and Claypool certainly should be near the top of their list.

Jabari Zuniga, DE, Florida

The Raiders still need help getting to the quarterback, and Zuniga is a Day 2 guy they should give serious consideration to.

Zuniga is a raw prospect, but at 6-foot-3, 264 pounds, with a 4.64 40 and a 33-inch vertical, the Florida product no doubt had teams drooling.

He showcased both power and speed during his time in Gainesville. He was effective in defending the run and a terror at getting after the quarterback. 

For a team that needs to pressure the passer, Zuniga is an intriguing option for the Silver and Black.

Kyle Dugger, S, Lenior-Rhyne

Size. Speed. Explosiveness, Production. Kyle Dugger is a safety who flashed all of those traits at Division-II Lenior Rhyne and then he backed it up with an impressive showing at the combine.

Dugger blazed a 4.49 40-yard dash, had a 42-inch vertical and an 11'2'' broad jump.

He's got the power to play in the box and the athleticism to cover deep.

Dugger likely will be off the board in Round 2, but pairing him with Johnathan Abram in the Raiders' secondary would be an enticing possibility.

[RELATED: Raiders should do whatever it takes to draft Isaiah Simmons]

Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

With two first-round picks, the Raiders should have their pick of the litter. If they opt to go elsewhere with the No. 12 overall pick, Jefferson is a great option at No. 19, especially if CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs are off the board.

After leading college football in catches while being second in touchdowns and third in yards, Jefferson solidified his standing with his showing at the combine.

He ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at 6-foot-1, 202 pounds, He firmly joined the top group of receivers and certainly is in play for the Raiders at No. 19 overall.

Jefferson worked primarily out of the slot at LSU, but showed the speed and athleticism to operate on the outside. He's a savvy route-runner with great hands and his stock is on the rise.

Isaiah Simmons' 40-yard time impresses Raiders' Mike Mayock at combine

Isaiah Simmons' 40-yard time impresses Raiders' Mike Mayock at combine

There's pretty much no chance Clemson linebacker/safety Isaiah Simmons falls to the Las Vegas Raiders at the No. 12 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

But that doesn't mean general manager Mike Mayock can't dream.

During the NFL Scouting Combine on Saturday in Indianapolis, Simmons, a freak athlete, posted an insane 40-yard dash time of 4.39 seconds.

NFL Network cameras caught Mayock's reaction to Simmons' time:

Just how fast did Simmons run? To put it into perspective, NFL Network overlaid his time with the times of some of the best defensive backs and running backs in the NFL. Derwin James. Jalen Ramsey. Saquon Barkley. Alvin Kamara. Zeke Elliott. Simmons beat all of them.

Shortly after registering that 40-time, Simmons went on Twitter and posted a GIF of a football coach screaming "Bring me the money." Even Simmons realized what he just did.

In their latest NFL Mock Draft, which was updated before the NFL Scouting Combine, NBC Sports Bay Area's Dalton Johnson and Josh Schrock have Simmons going No. 4 overall to the New York Giants.

Based on his performance this week in Indy, Simmons might go even higher.

[RELATED: Five prospects who fit with Raiders]

So if Mayock, Gruden and the Raiders want him in Sin City, they are going to have to trade up to get him. And it would cost them a lot to move up into the top three selections from No. 12.

NFL Draft 2020: Clemson's Isaiah Simmons designed to stop George Kittle

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USATSI

NFL Draft 2020: Clemson's Isaiah Simmons designed to stop George Kittle

INDIANAPOLIS -- George Kittle: Pass-catchers want to be like him, defenders want to contain him.

Kittle, three years removed from taking part in the NFL Scouting Combine, is now a transcendent player with the 49ers. He has become a standard for players who aspire for pro football stardom on either side of the ball.

In the case of do-everything Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons, he sees his value in the NFL as a player who can be an antidote for the way Kittle can control a game. After all, Kittle is a force in the passing game or as a run-blocker.

Why do NFL defenses need players like Simmons?

“If you know who George Kittle and Travis Kelce are, then that explains it all,” Simmons said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “Stopping tight ends, and linebackers playing man (coverage) on running backs.

“The game is no longer a 250-pound linebacker. It’s more guys that are able to run side to side and are able to cover. It’s just a necessity now with the tight ends and running backs.”

Simmons is a safety in a linebacker’s body. Or is he a linebacker in a defensive end’s body? Or is he something entirely different. When asked what position he plays, Simmons' standard answer is "defense."

“I would do everything I did in college,” Simmons said. “Just kind of like a Swiss Army knife. Move me around because then I’m able to show what I can really do. I wouldn’t say I’m really tied down to one position.”

Simmons measured in at 6-foot-3 5/8, 238 pounds with a wingspan of 81 7/8 inches. He could be a top-five pick in the draft. What's certain is this: When Simmons and Kittle are playing in the same game for the first time, it will be as competitors. The 49ers' first pick is at No. 31 overall.

As a junior, before declaring for the NFL Draft, Simmons registered 104 tackles in 15 games with eight sacks, three interceptions, eight passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

He compares his game to that of Kansas City defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, who is more than 6 inches shorter and nearly 50 pounds lighter than Simmons.

“I know years ago it wasn’t good to be a positionless guy,” Simmons said. “But, now, it’s become a benefit for me just because of all the versatility. I’ll be able to do, play linebacker, play safety, whatever it is, I feel like it just helps me out.

“Mentally, I feel like there isn’t anything I can’t do. I played every position except for a nose or 3-technique. When it comes down to it, I’m going to try with my best ability to do everything I can.”

[RELATED: Five defensive players 49ers should watch at combine]

And that includes matching up with the top tight ends in the NFL -- the guys who are difficult for any other player at a standard position to defend. Kittle, for instance, is too fast for linebackers and too strong and aggressive for defensive backs. Even Randy Moss' son, Thaddeus, is identifying Kittle as the player he tries to emulate

“The game is evolving so, the name of the game now is stopping tight ends,” Simmons said. “So something has to be done to stop these Travis Kelces and George Kittles out there.”

Kittle was voted the All-Pro tight end after his second consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season. He set the single-season NFL record for tight ends with 1,377 yards in 2018. Kelce registered his fourth consecutive 1,000-yard season with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019.