Already banned from this month's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis due to a previous arrest for assaulting a woman, former Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons' chances at earning a first round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft may have received a death sentence Tuesday with reports that he suffered a major knee injury during workouts, including but perhaps not limited to tearing his ACL.
The 6-3, 300 pound Simmons entered the day ranked fourth among this year's stellar defensive tackle class on NFLDraftScout.com's board and 13th overall, getting projected to the Minnesota Vikings in my current mock draft.
Tearing an ACL is not the show-stopping injury it once was but for a prospect already facing a more complicated projection to the NFL and plenty of worthy competition, it could send Simmons stock tumbling well into Day Two of the draft and perhaps even further.
Graded the top prep prospect in the state of Mississippi when he signed with the Bulldogs three years ago, Simmons almost lost his chance to showcase his talents as an arrest for assault in 2016 threatened to ruin his plans.
Instead, Simmons buckled down, dedicating himself to his books, weight room and community. In doing, Simmons built himself back up as not only one of the top defensive linemen in the Southeastern Conference but in the entire country, leaving the Bulldogs early for the 2019 NFL draft after recording 163 tackles, including 33 for loss and seven sacks in three seasons.
Along with teammate Montez Sweat, Simmons earned First Team All-SEC honors each of the past two seasons. A total of 45 of his 59 tackles came during conference play, which led all SEC defensive lineman.