The draft picks already have their jersey numbers. That's typical this time of year. Some of them who make the team could ultimately change their number at the end of the preseason, once cuts are made and other numbers become available. One player who can't do that would be the first-round pick. That player's jerseys are already going to be printed and sold to fans a ton long before the season begins. (High-profile players who want to switch numbers have to be willing to buy back unsold jerseys that have already been manufactured.)
It's with that backdrop we look at Isaiah Simmons' choice for No. 48 -- as he arrives in the 48th state of the union.
Not surprisingly, the uniform number rules in the NFL do not cover either "Swiss army knife" or "Eraser." Simmons is listed as a linebacker, although he might've been able to get away with a defensive back number (a la Deone Bucannon, who started out with No. 36 and later got No. 20 despite being a linebacker.) Simmons wore No. 11 in college, which wasn't going to work because a) as versatile as he is, he doesn't kick, punt or play QB or wide receiver, which is what you have to be for numbers in the teens, and b) Fitz. Duh.
If he was going with a linebacker number, his choices were limited. There were a handful of openings in the 50s. If he wanted in the 40s, 48 was his lone opportunity.
"I was actually talking with my brother, like, 'What number should I get?' " Simmons said. "(There were) just a few options. With 48, the more and more I've learned about Arizona day by day, was that it was the 48th state. So there is some significance right there."
And some historical work by the rookie.
"Personal significance, there isn't much there," he added. "I've always been a really low number. I felt like I was going to look good in it. That's really what it is."