Sunday's NFL: ESPN analyst not sold on Clemson's Isaiah Simmons

Detroit News wire services

Former Clemson star Isaiah Simmons appears to be a lock to be selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and most mock drafts have Simmons going in the top 10, some of them to the Lions.

But not everyone is sold on Simmons as one of the best players in this year’s draft, which will be held this month.

Clemson's Isaiah Simmons finished the 2019 season with personal bests in tackles (107), tackles for loss (16), sacks (eight), interceptions (three) and pass breakups (10).

ESPN college football analyst Cole Cubelic recently appeared on ESPN’s college football podcast featuring Stanford Steve and The Bear and raised questions about Simmons’ NFL future.

“I don’t see where he fits,” Cubelic said. “You’re telling me some of these flex tight ends in the NFL, he’s going to be able to run with those guys and cover? You’re confident in him manning up Travis Kelce? … 

“Is he quick enough, fast enough, athletic enough to cover the slot, be it a flex tight end or a slot receiver? I think he’s physical enough to play the run close to the box, but can he do it for an entire season and can he hold up against NFL offensive linemen and NFL blockers? That’s a question mark that I have.”

Cubelic added that he has talked with NFL decision-makers who feel the same way.

“I’ve talked to scouts about this and I’ve had a few guys that say, ‘Hey man, I’m with you. Don’t put my name on it but I’m right there with you,” he revealed.

Simmons was the starting nickel/sam linebacker for Clemson in 2018 and 2019 but he also lined up all over the field, spending time at safety and at the line of scrimmage where he would rush the passer.

He led Clemson in tackles with 107, tackles for loss with 16 and sacks with eight during his junior season before opting to turn pro and begin his NFL career.

But while Simmons excelled playing all over the field during his college career, Cubelic isn’t sure that versatility will translate to the next level.

“I understand he sort of fits a lot of places, but where does he truly make an impact?” Cubelic said. “And if you’re taking a guy in the top 5, in the top 10, he (dang) well better impact your team somewhere in a serious way, and I have some questions that Isaiah Simmons might not be that guy. I think he’s the most dangerous pick in the first round.

“I think he’s a very dangerous pick.”

Prescott ‘party’

The Prosper (Texas) Police Department received a report of a potential party at Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott’s house on Friday night, but could not verify a party was taking place or that coronavirus guidelines weren’t being followed upon arrival.

“The Prosper Police Department did respond to the Prescott residence after receiving a report of a potential ‘party,’” said Scott M. Brewer, an assistant chief with the Prosper Police Department, on Saturday night.

“The officer was unable to verify the report of a ‘party.’ 

“Therefore, he just reminded the resident of the current CDC guidelines — to include social distancing.”

Brewer added that Prosper “continues to seek voluntary compliance with regard to all applicable local and state disaster orders. As needed, we will consider additional enforcement actions/options. As always, our primary concern is the safety and health of all our residents.”

The issue of whether Prescott hosted a party that violated the coronavirus guidelines arose following a report on TMZ that showed several people, including Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, reportedly at Prescott’s residence to celebrate a birthday.

A source close to Prescott disputed the report, saying: “Dak did NOT have over 10 people and was not in violation of any social distancing.”

President Donald Trump released new guidelines on March 16 that stated Americans should not gather in groups of more than 10 people.

The state of Texas has told residents to stay at home amid the pandemic.

This is not the first time Prescott has made headlines amid the pandemic.

He has been seen working out at gyms with former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and pictured arm-in-arm, which goes against state and county mandates.

Gronkowski return rumored

The Rob Gronkowski comeback rumors are still alive and well.

With quarterback Tom Brady now a Buccaneer, some analysts believe Gronkowski joining his former teammate in Tampa could happen. 

New England would have to agree to trade him, however, and ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio made a great case for the move.

“For Gronk, Bruce Arians is the perfect coach,” Florio said Thursday on NBC Sports’ “PFT Overtime.” 

“Gronk had gotten worn out by Bill Belichick. Here comes Bruce Arians with a drink in one hand and he’s dropping f-bombs and he’s got the Kangol hat on. This guy’s cool in the eyes of Rob Gronkowski.

“This is the kind of guy Gronk would come out of retirement for, especially if it puts him back together with his good buddy, Tom Brady. I mean, it makes a ton of sense on the surface.”

As much as the football world would love to see Gronk return to the sideline, the final decision ultimately rests on his shoulders. 

The five-time Pro Bowler has tried to squash comeback rumors in the past yet it never seems to work.

“Whatever I say, it doesn’t matter,” Gronkowski told ESPN’s Mike Reiss in June 2019. “It will always be crazy out there, but you can put them to rest. 

“I’m feeling good. (In a) good place.”