Pro Football Focus has tabbed Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons as a player who could make a vast improvement in his sophomore campaign.
Despite missing the first six games of the regular season following an offseason ACL injury, Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons showed Titans fans a lot of promise in his first season in Nashville.
Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus made sure to mention the Titans’ first-round pick when building his list of 11 rookies who could be in for a big second year, saying:
"With a pass-rush win rate of 16.5% in his final season at Mississippi State, that’s an area that Simmons has the potential to improve in his second season. Considering he missed out on his rookie offseason and the early part of the year, his play on the field less than a year after undergoing ACL surgery was impressive. That bodes well for his growth moving forward."
PFF gave Simmons a 67.2 overall grade, which was good for third best among Titans interior defensive linemen, trailing only perennial Pro Bowler Jurrell Casey and DaQuan Jones. Simmons ate up blocks time and time again, making work a lot easier for the stunted blitzers former defensive coordinator Dean Pees loved to use.
The 6-foot-4, 301-pound force on the interior of the defensive line also earned a 68.1 grade in run defense from PFF, good for fourth behind Casey, Jones, and Austin Johnson, as well as a third place pass-rush grade of 67.2, trailing Jones and Isaiah Mack.
This is all while playing in only 12 games (including playoffs), as compared to the 13 games (regular season only) played by Mack, 17 by Casey, and 19 each from Jones and Johnson.
Simmons was picked No. 19 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, a selection many people thought at the time to be a steal, including NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks:
Simmons finished his rookie season with 35 combined tackles (four for loss) and two sacks while being on the field for 314 regular season defensive snaps, an average of 28 percent, which ranks third on the team for interior defensive linemen.
With a full and hopefully healthy offseason under his belt, I think we can expect to see big things from Big Jeff in 2020.