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John Simon will be “strictly” an outside linebacker with Colts

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NFL: Houston Texans at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Since the Colts signed John Simon shortly after free agency began, there has been some speculation among Colts fans and media that the team might play him some at inside linebacker.

But it doesn’t sound like that’s something the Colts are actually considering. The Anderson Herald-Bulletin’s George Bremer noted today that defensive coordinator Ted Monachino said that Simon is “strictly” an outside linebacker.

So that’s that. The Colts don’t seem intent on playing him at inside linebacker anytime soon, so the question is now about how he’ll fit in at outside linebacker. The Colts also signed Jabaal Sheard and Barkevious Mingo in free agency and drafted Tarell Basham in the third round of this year’s draft, so they’ll have some options. At this point, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Sheard and Simon are the two ‘starters’ at outside linebacker, with Basham seeing significant time in a pass rushing role early on.

Monachino was already familiar with Simon before the linebacker signed with the Colts, as Simon was with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013 when Monachino was an assistant coach there. Over the last three seasons, Simon was with the Houston Texans and really developed into a nice player. In his NFL career, he has appeared in 45 games and started 13 of them, recording 120 tackles, ten sacks, a forced fumble, and three passes defensed. He recorded five sacks in 2015 and 3.5 sacks in 2016 while recording over 50 tackles in both years. He has turned into a solid all-around player who can produce against the pass and against the run.

I think Simon would be an interesting player to try some at inside linebacker, especially with the Colts’ questions at that position. Simon’s skill-set could lend himself to producing there, but I also understand where the Colts are coming from: it’s not like their outside linebacker position is great either, and they signed Simon to play outside. So they’re likely aiming to maximize his production there and not spend time trying to move him around.