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Kliff Kingsbury Talks Of Having Isaiah Simmons 'Focus' On One Position

The conversation about how the Cardinals are going to use rookie Isaiah Simmons on defense will be ongoing, especially without any on-field evidence to point to (or without a regular-season opponent for which to gameplan.) Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph made it clear Simmons was officially a linebacker, but also said the Cards were going to want to at least see what else Simmons might be able to do before eliminating any options for a player who played all over the place in college.

Still, it was hard not to take notice of Kliff Kingsbury's evaluation of Simmons in the context of what he saw for the first-round pick in an offseason that very likely will be truncated on the field if not eliminated altogether -- which would cost Simmons and the rest of the rookies valuable on-field reps trying to learn the NFL game.

"Our thought process, if he is really able to focus on one position, having the flexibility to still move around but really focus on one, what does that look like?" Kingsbury said. "The sky could really be the limit."

Having a rookie focus on one spot is not unusual. It's been brought up at some point before with draft picks like D.J. Humphries, Haason Reddick, Byron Murphy and Andy Isabella. How it relates to Simmons will be the key. There are many who believe Simmons' best attribute is his versatility, and not taking full advantage of it would be a mistake. Then again, Kingsbury noted Simmons' flexibility to move around. Even if he is "only" a linebacker, that can open up a ton of options -- from blitzing to covering a tight end or running back out of the backfield, or playing spy on someone like Russell Wilson, to even coming off the edge.

What it ultimately might mean is some different kind of formations for the defense. Maybe there are times when the Cards go with three down linemen and five linebackers and a single safety, with Simmons on the field, or something like that.

Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons (11) during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game against Ohio State, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz.