The 2023 NFL offseason is here and that means it’s time for mock drafts, draft profiles and everything that goes with them. So without further ado, here’s one of many Draft Profiles for the 2023 NFL draft.
Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
WT: 225 lbs
• 2022: Butkus Award semifinalist
• Lott IMPACT Trophy semifinalist
• Third-team All-ACC selection
• Earned third-team All-ACC honors from Phil Steele
• Credited with 77 tackles (4.0 for loss), tied for third-most on the team, 2.5 sacks, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles in 616 defensive snaps over 12 games (all starts)
• Showed initial quickness and good flexibility to dip and bend. Simpson has active hands and suddenness to his movements, demonstrating the ability to counter inside.
• Shows a burst to close. Flashes explosive hitting ability and good lateral and downfield pursuit.
• Made Bruce Feldman’s Freak’s List – ranked #29. He wrote, “The 6-3, 240-pounder, who only has 6 percent body fat, ranked third on the team with 78 tackles and finished second in both tackles for loss (12.0) and sacks (six). Simpson bench-presses 375 pounds, power-cleaned 355 and has vertical-jumped 35 inches and done 10-2 on the broad jump. More impressively, Tigers coaches say he has run the 40 in the high 4.3s, which includes a 10-yard split under 1.5 seconds.”
• Handles misdirection well with quick change-of-direction ability. Comes downhill quickly against the run when Simpson has an open lane.
• Simpson will always try to plow into the largest piles and has a good knack of ending up glued to the ballcarrier.
• As good as Simpson is attacking downhill, he can get overaggressive and overrun plays, opening up cutback lanes for counter runs.
• Simpson lacks the ability to drop weight and anchor against the run, often getting manhandled at the point of attack.
• Had a down year in 2002, where he was taken out of the game a number of times. He suffered drops in all elements of his game as a pass rusher
• He’s perfectly capable of converting speed into power when he gets to the ball, but too often he slips off tackles or turns into a grab-and-drag tackler rather than a hitter, failing to keep his legs driving through the hit.
• Simpson wasn’t asked to stack much at the second level
• Will probably need to add muscle mass to his frame to stand up at the next level
Trenton Simpson is the top linebacker prospect in the 2023 NFL draft class. His impressive physique belies his 240 pounds and he is highly versatile in coverage. Over the past two seasons, he has only allowed 353 yards on 66 targets (5.3 yards per target). However, he is still a work in progress and may struggle with some of the more intricate roles of a linebacker in the NFL and not just rely on his supreme natural athletic ability. He needs to work on negotiating blocks and striking at the right point of attack to be successful.
It can’t be ignored that he regressed a little in 2022 at a time when expectations were sky-high and this may have some teams dropping him on their boards as a result. Despite this, it’s unlikely Simpson will drop out of the first round, and has all the potential to become a pro bowl-level player.
Information in this article first appeared on NFL Draft Buzz and is used with permission. Find the latest coverage, analysis, and player rankings for the 2023 NFL Draft at nfldraftbuzz.com
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