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NFL Draft Profile: John Simpson

Clemson will have to replace one of the best interior Offensive Lineman they’ve ever had

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

John Simpson Physical Stats

  • 6’4”
  • 321 pounds
  • 34 1/8” arms
  • 11 1/4 “ hands

Career at Clemson

John Simpson chose Clemson over multiple other suitors back on national signing day in 2016. He was a 4-star recruit with offers from every major south-eastern power, and he certainly lived up to the billing. Even from his Freshman season the potential was evident, as Simpson played in 9 games and even logged 10 snaps against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. As a sophomore, Simpson played over 300 snaps while backing up Taylor Hearn, essentially serving as the team’s “6th Offensive Lineman”.

As a junior, Simpson finally ascended into a starting role and never looked back. Starting every game for the next 2 seasons, John went on to earn second team All-ACC honors in 2018 before earning consensus All-American status as a Senior in 2019. Simpson proved to be a crucial cog in Clemson’s protection of Trevor Lawrence, as well as their dominance in the run game during the team’s 29 game win streak. Additionally, Simpson has been to the College Football Playoff and won the ACC in all 4 years of his career, and won 2 national titles in the process.

Scouting Report and Draft Outlook

The first thing that you notice about Simpson are his measureables. Even for an Offensive Lineman, Simpson’s arm and hand measurements are elite, especially his arm length which more closely resembles that of a pro Tackle than a Guard. At over 320 pounds his athletic testing numbers are also extremely impressive. A 30” vertical leap for any offensive line prospect showcase explosiveness and high-end athleticism. Generally, a sub-5.00 second shuttle is the best indicator for a pro Offensive Line prospect, and Simpson checked that box with a solid 4.87 at the combine this spring. John has heavy hands, and when he gets his hands on you you’re rarely ever going to overpower him.

Simpson is strong as an ox but also a solid athlete at his size, and those are traits that pro scouts will be excited to mold into a long-term interior starter. Despite these traits Simpson is not without his warts. The most commonly talked about concerns with Simpson center around him having stiffness in his hips. This effects his ability to change direction and adjust laterally in pass protection. He also plays with poor leverage at times in both major phases of the game, and will need to continue to hone his technique in those areas.

Projection: 3rd or 4th Round

Simpson projects as a day 2 or early day 3 pick. While Simpson has some very positive athletic and physical traits, he does possess others that will likely hinder him from being a truly elite Guard at the next level. With that said, he does possess the physical and mental makeup to be a starter or depth player at the next level for a long period of time. Simpson would be best served by a run-heavy team that will utilize his freakish play strength and competitiveness while mitigating his weaknesses in pass protection.