It’s interesting to note that the “Star” position isn’t unheard of. The Rams have named a position on their defense just that, with Pro Bowler Jalen Ramsey moving off his cornerback duties at times to roam the field.
Ramsey and Simmons are fundamentally different types of players, but the end result could still be the same.
Simmons has long downplayed the difficulty of learning different positions. Every play has a similar responsibility, it’s just a matter of knowing who owns that responsibility with each call.
The former first-round pick knows the whispers – or louder – of what people think of his career thus far. He said it doesn’t matter, but he hears.
“I really have always felt I was doubted,” Simmons said. “I’m a three-star guy from Kansas. When I committed to Clemson everyone told me I was going to be a bench player, never play, just play on special teams. Obviously, I didn’t care and took a leap of faith for what I wanted to do.
“I kind of felt the same way here. Everyone called me a bust, which I could care less about … the pressure, I enjoy the pressure because if nobody cared, if there was no pressure, I must not be doing something right.”
Sacks? Yes, he wants those. Interceptions too, “and everything else under the sun,” Simmons said.
“He made a lot of plays last year,” Joseph said. “His numbers were off the chart last year. Now, he gave up too many plays last year in my opinion. He knows that.”
Simmons has already made some plays in camp that have caught the eye, using length and athleticism to break up passes that would have sneaked over a normal defender’s head, and grabbing an interception over the middle that took every bit of his 6-4 frame and impressive leaping ability.
Joseph loves that Simmons not only can tackle and chase and sack but that he can be good in coverage and he actually enjoys that task.
“Right now he’s our Star-backer,” Joseph said. “Whatever you want to call him. We’ll see. That’s what camp is for. How far we can go with playing certain spots. Right now it’s just reaching for the stars and hope it’s good enough.”
Reaching for the stars with the Star.