On Friday afternoon I spoke with Boston College defensive back and 2016 NFL Draft prospect, Justin Simmons. We spoke about the combine in which he impressed greatly, as well as the draft process and what he hopes to accomplish going forward. Here is a synopsis of our conversation:
Q: So we are a few days removed here from the combine where you impressed. You placed first among defensive backs in the three-cone drill. How do you feel you handle the whirlwind that is the NFL Combine?
A: I thought the combine went well and that I handled everything pretty well. A lot was thrown at us but it was a great experience to go through. A couple of my times were a bit slower than when I had trained, so I am going to focus on improving those times.
Q: Draft prospects train so hard and long for the combine, and it is mostly drills that a lot of fans and media feel aren’t all that relevant in determining a football player’s talent. Do you feel as if you benefit in training for drills like the three-cone, broad jump, and the 40-yard dash?
A: Training for the combine is definitely different from regular football training. When you train in regular football training and you get an injury, you try and fight through it. You put it all on the line. When you train for the combine, and you get a bump or bruise you focus more on healing. You have to make sure you are at full strength. Drills like the three-cone are real helpful especially as a defensive back because it is so focused on cutting and turning your hips.
Q: Now that the combine has passed what is your focus on now? Pro Day?
A: Yeah definitely, all about the pro day. I mainly want to focus on my position drills for my pro day. I want to make sure I show my fluidity in my hips and things like that.
Q: When someone watches your tape they quickly realize that you’re a, “ball hawk.” Anytime the ball is in the air your always in the area. Is that your main goal as a defensive back to always be around the ball?
A: Yeah anytime your out there on defense your trying to make a big play. If your team or teammate doesn’t seem up, you want to try and bring a big play to get everyone into it. Anytime you can do that it’s huge for a defense.
(GIF credit to draftbreakdown.com and Steelersdepot.com)
Q: A lot of coaches and scouts look for versatility in a defensive back at the pro level? Do you think you can provide that?
A: Yeah throughout my time at Boston College I played all around. I played strong, free, and down in the nickel position. Any way I can help my team I am willing to do it.
(GIF credit to draftbreakdown.com and steelersdepot.com)
Q: You played with guys at Boston College who are in the NFL now, and you are going through this draft process with guys who are hoping to make it with you. Do you lean on each other and have you reached out to any of the guys now in the league?
A: Yeah we all lean on each other, we are all working out together and trying to make each other better players. Guys like Connor (Wujciak), and Steve (Daniels), we are all pushing to make each other better. Guys in the league are always there for us, you know Andre Williams, guys like that are always there when you need them.
Q: Last question here, when an NFL team drafts Justin Simmons, what will they be getting?
A: Definitely a guy with high character, high effort, who loves the game of football. I always love to be prepared. I never want to be out on the field if I don’t know what to expect. I study the ins and outs of the game. I am always prepared, and try to be in the right place at the right time. Also, I like to think I am a very tough individual, and I am an extremely competitive person. I always have thought of myself as an underdog, and I like to carry myself with that chip on my shoulder.
At 6-3, 202 pounds, Justin Simmons has the build and without a doubt the athleticism to be a top-notch NFL defensive back. After speaking with him I also learned that he also carries himself as a true professional who is training and ready to take the next step.
Keep checking back as we will update Justin’s progress after his Pro day. (Ed.)