University of South Carolina free safety Ko Simpson is known as one of the best pure safeties in the draft. Known to be a ball hawk, he recorded six interceptions as a freshman and earned Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year honors. Simpson also earned freshman All-American honors, as well as All-American honors his sophomore year.
Simpson has good size at 6-foot-1, 209 pounds, and has proven he can tackle by leading his team with 103 stops during his sophomore season. Simpson also showed his fantastic athletic ability at the combine, running a 4.45 40-yard dash and having a 40.5-inch vertical jump.
The safety is also known for his man-to-man coverage skills and has good recovery speed. Simpson also was a solid special teams player in college and will be able to contribute at the pro level. Free safety is the position that will best fit him in the National Football League, and many teams believe Simpson to have the best upside of any safety in the draft. Simpson could be a long-term pro in the NFL with the right coaching.
The biggest weakness Simpson possesses is his lack of playing time and experience. He may not be immediately ready to step in and play at the pro level and may need time to develop. Simpson needs to improve his strength, he only bench pressed 225 pounds 11 times at the combine. Simpson has learned to rely on his natural ability and instincts rather than technique and knowledge; he will have to improve on this to compete in the NFL.
Though an effective tackler, he is not a form tackler and will need to work on his strength and technique. Simpson is better in man-to-man than zone coverage and will need to improve. He will overrun plays from time to time taking him out of position and allowing big gains.
Several teams that he spoke with at the combine felt he was a bit on the immature side, which could be something to watch for during the early stages of his career.
Expected Draft Placement
Simpson is an intriguing prospect for NFL teams, as he has as much potential ability as any safety in the draft but lacks experience. He could be a potential star in the NFL but needs quite a bit of refinement in his game.
Simpson is a player that definitely looks to have the size, speed and skills to make it in the NFL. When he puts all his skills together, has the potential to be a top free safety in the NFL. Many teams are interested in what he brings to the table, and he should be picked in the middle of the second round. One likely suitor could be the Baltimore Ravens, who will need to replace free safety Will Demps (New York Giants).
About Chris Souvignier
Chris Souvignier has been a KFFL contributor since 2006.
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