Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Prospect Profile: DE/OLB John Simon - Ohio State

Name:  John Simon
Height:  6' - 1"
Weight:  257 lbs.
Class:  Senior
Hometown:  Youngstown, OH
High School:  Cardinal Mooney HS
Date of Birth:  ??? (reported as 22 years old)

Career at The Ohio State University:

2012 Senior Year:  Started 11 of 12 games for Ohio State, missing the finale vs. Michigan with a knee injury.  Team Captain (2nd time), only 8th player in Buckeye history to twice be named Team Captain.  Urban Meyer called Simon the "heart and soul" of the 2012 Team.  Twice named a semi-finalist for the Lott IMPACT Award, and was a finalist for the 2012 Fellowship of Christian Athletes' Bobby Bowden Award.  Was named Big Ten Conference's 2012 Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year.  Ranked first in Big Ten with 9.0 sacks and second with 14.5 TFLs.  Media and Coaches named him all-Big Ten.  Third Team Associated Press All-American and Second Team Walter Camp All-American.  Finished the season with 44.0 total tackles, 22 solo, 22 assisted and also added 4.0 PBUs.

2011 Junior Year:  Played and started in all 13 contests for the Buckeyes.  Named third team Walter Camp All-American, and AP/Coaches All-Big Ten.  Named Ohio State "Bill Willis Award" winner as teams' most outstanding defensive player.  Finished his junior season with 53 total tackles, 31 solo and 22 assisted, added a whopping 16.0 TFLs coupled with 7.0 sacks.  Also notched 3.0 PBUs.

2010 Sophomore Year:  Played and started in all 13 games for Ohio State.  Named honorable mention All-Big Ten.  Had a huge 30 yd. fumble recovery for a TD vs. Minnesota.  Notched 41 total tackles, 22 solo and 19 unassisted, had 8.5 TFLs and 3.0 sacks.  Added 2.0 PBUs. 

2009 Freshman Year:  As a true freshman Simon played in all 13 games.  He totaled 16 tackles, 7 solo and 9 assisted.  Had 4.0 TFLs, 1.5 sacks and 1 PBU.  Named Ohio State Coaches' Freshman Defensive Player of the Year.

2012 Senior Year Highlights:

2011 Junior Year Highlights:

Positives (+):
+  Clearly demonstrated leadership qualities while at Ohio State, twice named Team Captain, only 8th OSU player to ever be named Team Captain twice
+  Strong, 100% effort at all times, finishes games, excited to play football
+  Demonstrates a knack for getting through blocks and finding the football
+  Instincts and tenacity
+  Gets to the QB in a hurry in a lot of one-on-one situations
+  Excels at an inside swim move, flashes a good spin
+  Versatile pass rusher, lined up on both sides and even inside
+  Sheds and show fundamentals vs. the run
+  Extremely tough, works hard in practice, leads by example

Negatives (-):
-  Missed his last college game after suffering an injury to his right knee
-  Recently had shoulder surgery
-  Needs to develop his other pass rushing moves besides the inside swim, especially his rip move
-  Sometimes comes off the snap very, very slow, perhaps to set up his blocker better in space, or to read the play better on the edge
-  Struggled in coverage when trying LB drills at the Senior Bowl, might not fit a 3-4 effectively
-  Can't really be described as overly explosive or athletic in any facet of his game

NFL Draft Outlook:
John Simon was a perennial monster in the Big 10 coming into his Senior season.  He didn't disappoint as he was named Big Ten DPOTY, despite missing The Game v.2013.  Simon brings a great deal of experience, leadership and production off the edge.  That combination is the kind of thing GMs and Head Coaches love to fill their rosters with.  Simon is sort of a tweener, though he played most of his career on the edge as a 4-3 pass rusher.  While in Mobile, he was worked out as a LB and he looked incredibly green.  However, under the guidance of current Raider DC Jason Tarver, Simon picked up the coaching very quickly and, even if just by little bits and pieces, started looking more comfortable in various drop back sets as a LB in space.  Teams in a base 4-3 will likely look at Simon as a 3rd or 4th Round priority edge rusher.  Simon has added bonus because he's solid against the run.  He shows toughness, tenacity and the ability to motivate those around him and will likely be a mid/late Day 2 Prospect.

Outlook as a Raider:
Reggie McKenzie and Raider Nation love guys like John Simon.  He's the proverbial try hard, die hard man on the field who raises the game of those around him.  Obviously, with the Raider staff getting a long look at John Simon in Mobile, they definitely have had a good amount of exposure to John Simon and what he could bring to Oakland.  Tarver is known to be a guy who likes "Multiples", and whether or not Simon can do what he has to as a 3-4 OLB might determine if McKenzie pulls the trigger on Simon in the high 3rd or high 4th Rounds.  Oakland could kick Lamarr Houston back inside and let Simon supplement the depth out on the edge, either at DE or as a 3-4 OLB close to the line of scrimmage.  Simon is definitely a prime target for the Raiders late on Day 2 or early on Day 3.  They need on the field leaders (something Rolando McClain never was) and guys who will lead by example.

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