Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons is a projected first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. That could change after the news that Simmons likely tore his ACL during a pre-draft workout.
From @mortreport and me: Mississippi St. DT Jeffery Simmons, projected to be a top 15-pick in April, suffered a knee injury during training that is thought to be a torn ACL, per league sources. A statement to offer clarity on Simmons’ injury is expected to be released today.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 12, 2019
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport confirmed that Simmons did indeed tear his ACL.
Miss. St standout DT Jeffery Simmons does, in fact, have a torn ACL from doing a routine drill during a workout, source said. Statement is coming, but so is surgery. Simmons can’t attend the Combine for an off-field incident, per NFL rules, but the injury brings more questions.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 12, 2019
Before Simmons arrived to Mississippi State, he was charged with simple assault that immediately got him suspended before he took a snap as a college football player. Simmons was seen on camera punching a woman while she was on the ground. That assault charge barred him from the 2019 NFL Combine due to a rule created in 2016 that prevents violent offenders from attending the combine.
Even with his background, Simmons was still considered one of the top talents in the draft by draft experts across the industry.
Our most recent mock draft from Dan Kadar had Simmons going 17th to the Browns. Bucky Brooks’ latest mock draft had Simmons going 27th to the Raiders. Daniel Jeremiah’s mock draft has the Jaguars taking Simmons with the seventh pick in the draft. Todd McShay and Mel Kiper had Simmons going in the first round to the Jaguars and Browns, respectively.
With his knee injury and past assault charge, Simmons is in unique territory.
There have been players in recent history who have suffered a major injury while preparing for the draft. Eagles cornerback Sidney Jones was drafted in the second round after tearing his Achilles during his pro day workout in March of 2017. 49ers defensive lineman Kentavius Street was drafted in the fourth round after tearing his ACL during a private workout with the Giants last April.
Broncos tight end Jake Butt and Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith both suffered knee injuries in bowl games during their final collegiate seasons. Butt was drafted in the fifth round of the 2017 draft while Smith was drafted with the 34th pick in 2016.
Jones was projected to be a first-round pick before tearing his Achilles. The Eagles selected him with the 43rd pick in the 2017 NFL Draft — just 10 picks after the end of the first round.
Simmons will now be a case study for how high NFL teams will take a player with immediate injury concerns and violent offenses in his past.