He’s a two-time All-Big Ten selection, and a two-time Buckeye football captain, so why would NFL types be of two minds when it comes to John Simon?
“He’s going to appeal to a coach, because he’s got a great motor. He’s tough as can be. He’s got all those kind of leadership intangibles,” explains NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock.
“The scouts don’t like him as much. The scouts look at certain physical limitations. How long are his arms? What did he run? What kind of of burst does he have? What position can he play?”
For his part, Simon says he’ll play “wherever a team wants me,” which for some teams is outside linebacker. It was as a defensive lineman for Ohio State, though, that he racked up 154 tackles, 43 tackles for loss, and 20.5 sacks–including a league-leading 9 in his senior year.
“I feel like I’m very versatile, and I feel that can help me at the next level, help a team in any way I can,” Simon said in an interview shared by Browns.com. “I feel like I can play multiple positions, and that’s something that will work to my advantage in the draft.
That versatility has earned him comparisons to former Buckeye player and current OSU assistant Mike Vrabel, who was a disruptive force on the line in college and was eventually moved to linebacker in the pros.
Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell disagrees.
“He’s better than Mike Vrabel,” said Fickell to reporters after the 2012 season. “The guy is tougher, he’s faster, he’s stronger. I don’t know what else you can say.”
Only when prompted “more handsome?” did Fickell finally demure.
“That’s up to you.”
Now, with the draft starting later this week, it’s up to NFL teams to size up where Simon might fit in their plans. Mayock predicts that Simon (like Vrabel incidentally) will be taken in the third round.
“I put him under the heading, ‘find a spot,'” Mayock said. “He cares too much. He’s too tough, and he’s the kind of kid I want on my team.”
The draft will air on 1460 ESPN Thursday night, with rounds 2-3 being carried by 97.1 The Fan starting at 6 p.m. Friday night.