Cardinals plan for ex-Clemson star Isaiah Simmons to focus on 1 role

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals were impressed with Isaiah Simmons' ability to learn and play five positions at Clemson. But now Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury wants to see how his first-round pick will fare at one position.

Kingsbury doubled down on limiting Simmons, whom Arizona took eighth overall in last month's NFL draft, to just one role during a video conference call with reporters on Monday.

"Our thought process, is if he is really able to focus on one position, having the flexibility to still move around, but really focus on one, what does that look like?" Kingsbury said. "And the sky can really be the limit.

"That's why we were so excited about him. The athleticism is through the roof. But his ability to play different positions and not really have any chance to focus on one, we just think the sky can be the limit for what he could be if we really lock him into one position the majority of the time."

Last season, Simmons, the 2019 ACC Defensive Player of the Year and Butkus Award winner, played 303 snaps at cornerback, 218 at safety, 160 at outside linebacker and 121 at inside linebacker.

On April 28, Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said Simmons will be a linebacker in Arizona but will be used in various other roles, particularly to defend tight ends, on a snap-by-snap basis.

After the Cardinals took Simmons, general manager Steve Keim called Simmons an "eraser" because of his ability to be a "Swiss Army knife" and fix mistakes made on defense.