As a huge Buckeyes fan, I've had the pleasure of watching a lot of John Simon over the last few years, and fortunately for the workout warrior Simon, he is one of the top defensive line prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Simon is an incredibly versatile defender, putting in time as a defensive tackle and defensive end. In his junior year, Simon arguably had his best year, finishing the season with seven sacks (16 for loss, which lead the team) and 53 tackles. Simon then followed up his outstanding junior effort with another stellar year - Simon racked up nine sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss and one forced fumble as a senior. This was good enough to earn Simon his second selection to the All-Big Ten first team.
In Buckeye land, Simon is seen as a hard working, blue-collar athlete that has the will and confidence to succeed. Teams will be turned off by his size, but will certainly be intrigued by his work ethic and leadership skills (two-time captain).
With his size concerns, I could see Simon making a permanent move to 3-4 outside linebacker. Coverage could be a problem for Simon, but he makes up for it with his strong fundamentals (great use of hands) and willingness to hit the weight room, and hit it hard.
Simon is somewhat polished, but he's not perfect.
One of strongest criticisms of Simon is his difficulty to get off of blocks. He lacks elite burst, and might be better suited if he dropped some weight to help add some quickness.
Simon did not do work out at the Combine or at Ohio State's Pro Day on Mar. 11 due to a lingering shoulder injury. He will, however, be participating in his own workout on Mar. 25.
The Colts signed OLB Erik Walden to a confusing, 4 year, $16 million deal, but they should still be looking to add a play maker that can rush the edge. If Simon doesn't go in the first round and somehow slips to the third, the Colts could definitely be in play.
That said, I would be astonished if Simon makes it out of the second round.
Scouting Profile via CBSSports:
STRENGTHS: Simon has a motor that never quits, playing extremely relentless as one of the best attacking defenders in college football the past few years. He has a strong upper body to swat and use his limbs to beat blocks with the natural power and forceful playing style to keep blockers off balance and shed.
WEAKNESSES: Simon is almost too bulked up, which limits his fluidity, and he lacks ideal arm length, making it tough for him to disengage at times. He is more of a one-speed rusher and doesn't flash consistent explosion, lacking creativity as an edge rusher. Struggled to cover running backs or tight ends in one-on-one coverage at the Senior Bowl, lacking the natural hip movement or footwork to quickly adjust and blanket his man.
COMPARES TO: Allen Bailey, DE, Kansas City Chiefs - It's tough to find an exact comparison for Simon, but Bailey comes close with their muscular frames, quick feet and relentless attitude. Simon isn't as big as Bailey (285 pounds), but he's just as strong.