2016 NFL Draft: The Denver Broncos added Boston College safety Justin Simmons to the league’s best defense and their own No Fly Zone…
I love it in the NFL Draft when teams add to their strengths, especially when there aren’t many other needs, and the Denver Broncos did just that when they acquired Boston College safety Justin Simmons in the third round.
Watching the 6-3, 202 pound Simmons play, it’s clear that the Broncos were out to replace their best coverage safety in David Bruton, who bolted to Washington this offseason for a bigger role.
The Broncos know how valuable the third safety is in this defense. Bruton played over 50 percent of the snaps last season, and since coming into the league in 2009 as a special teams ace, had also developed into the Broncos’ best man-to-man cover player. Not that Darian Stewart and T.J. Ward aren’t good in that regard, but it was clear when the Broncos had suffered multiple injuries at the safety position (particularly when it was Stewart or Bruton) the coverage on the back end suffered.
Consider that hole plugged.
Simmons is excited about getting a chance to play in the “No Fly Zone” on the best defense in the NFL.
“I’m just really looking forward to getting plugged in as soon as I get there and learning from obviously the best defense in the country last season. I really think I bring a lot of my versatility and just knowledge to the game so I think all of that adds up together. Like I said earlier, just learning from those guys and learning how to improve my game so I’m excited for that.”
In Simmons, the Broncos got a player that has played some corner, some safety, and some special teams. He could be expected to do the same in Denver early on.
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“I would just say that in our defense at Boston College, our safeties were very versatile and to do a lot in the back end so that’s kind of where my game came from. Just being so versatile and knowing different spots in the backfield and playing that free safety role, and playing that strong safety sometimes down in the box and also sometimes moving out into nickel or corner if need be.”
This pick was exciting for the Broncos, who had already filled two of their biggest needs at QB and along the DL. Adding a safety like Simmons in round three allows them to focus on drafting the best players available regardless of position with six selections on day three.