With the final pick on the second night of the NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos selected safety Justin Simmons, the first former Boston College player to be taken in the first three rounds since the Carolina Panthers picked Luke Kuechly ninth overall in 2012.
Simmons was a four-year player and two-year starter for the Eagles, playing mostly free safety but also seeing some time at cornerback his junior year. He led one of the best defenses in the country this past fall, tallying 67 tackles and five interceptions, two of which came in a career-day against Notre Dame.
In his tweet announcing the pick, Broncos general manager John Elway cited him as being a “big rangy safety … with great cover skills.” Listed around 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, there has been some concern that Simmons is a bit too lanky, but his overall athleticism should allow him to make an impact at the professional level.
Our 3rd rd pick is Justin Simmons, a big rangy safety from Boston College. He's a center fielder with great cover skills.
— John Elway (@johnelway) April 30, 2016
He performed well at the NFL combine and BC’s Pro Day a couple months back, running a 4.61 at the former and a 4.53 at the latter. His ability to be a leader on the field and make big plays also seemed to contribute to his appeal.
After losing safety David Brutton Jr. to the Washington Redskins in free agency this offseason, Simmons joins a roster that may have a place for him in the next couple years. Darian Stewart will likely get the start at free safety this fall for the team with the best defense in the NFL in 2015, both in terms of total yards and passing yards surrendered per game.
He was the seventh safety selected overall in this year’s draft, and just the third free safety. The final four rounds of the draft will begin at noon on Saturday, April 30. Other BC players hoping to hear their name called include linebacker Steven Daniels and defensive linemen Connor Wujciak and Mehdi Abdesmad.
Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Senior Staff