Former Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons already knew he wasn’t going to the NFL Scouting Combine because of past issues involving violence, but that wasn’t going to stop him from training hard and watching his name shoot up mock draft boards for this spring’s 2019 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, the dream to play at the highest level will have to wait longer than expected.
During position drills this past weekend in Florida, the 6-foot-4, 300-pounder who dominated in the SEC tore his left Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and will have surgery next week to repair it.
This is obviously very devastating news for Simmons, who was a potential top-10 pick.
“As I sit and want to ask, ‘why?’ I reflect on how much God has brought me through. This has been a very emotional time for me and my family. As you all know, I have been preparing for the 2019 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, I tore the ACL in my left knee when I was going through position drills this past weekend while training in Boca Raton, Florida.
“I just want everyone to know that no matter what, God makes no mistakes. He is preparing me for GREATER things ahead! He has shown me so much in my life these last couple of years and now is the time for me to NOT give up! I will undergo surgery early next week and then begin the rehab process. I am going to come back stronger and more determined than ever. If it is in God’s will, no matter which team drafts me this April, I will work extremely hard to get healthy and become a leader in that organization.
“As I demonstrated throughout my three years at Mississippi State, I pride myself on my work ethic, commitment, and leadership on and off the field. I will do the same at the next level, becoming the best teammate I can be and helping my teammates get better while I prepare to take the field. Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout this process.”
— NFL Draft Prospect Jeffery Simmons
So what does this mean for Simmons, who recorded 157 tackles, including seven sacks, with four forced fumbles and six passes defended in three seasons with the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville, Mississippi? Well, a few million things.
With a torn ACL, Simmons will likely miss his entire rookie season. Perhaps more importantly, the former All-SEC defensive lineman will see his draft stock plummet and will likely lose out on millions of dollars he could have earned if he stayed healthy.
How far Simmons will fall during the draft in April is still up in the air, but it certainly doesn’t look very promising. Although he will still get picked, and potentially in the first round if a team really wants to take a flyer on his talent, this is a significant blow to his future and and bank account.
Going from a sure-fire first-round pick to perhaps the second or third round is beyond costly, especially since it’s a big guy with a knee injury.
There’s no doubt Jeffery Simmons has the talent to be a significant factor in the NFL, but everyone will have to wait a while tor really see what that looks like.