The Las Vegas Raiders traded up in the fourth round to get John Simpson, and here is a look at the prospect, how he fits with the team.
The third and final day of the 2020 NFL Draft began with a bang for the Las Vegas Raiders, as they decided to move up to get their guy. The Raiders pulled off a trade with the Detroit Lions to move up to pick No. 109 overall, sending picks 121 and 172 to the Lions in exchange for the slot.
With the pick, the Raiders selected offensive guard John Simpson out of surprise, surprise, Clemson. Simpson joins teammate Tanner Muse in being drafted out of Clemson by the Raiders this year, and former teammates Clelin Ferrell, Hunter Renfrow, and Trayvon Mullen during the 2019 NFL Draft.
There have been rumors in recent months about the possibility of moving on from starting guard Gabe Jackson and his massive cap number of $9.6 million. If they decide to keep Jackson, Simpson would provide depth to the position, and a possible long term replacement for Ritchie Incognito, who signed a two-year extension this offseason.
Here is a closer look at who John Simpson is and how he fits with the Raiders.
Who is John Simpson?
John Simpson is a big man, standing tall at 6-foot-4 inches and weighing in at 321 pounds. Simpson was a two-year starter for the Clemson Tigers, starting 29 of his final 30 games, including two appearances in the CFP National Championship game.
Meeting the necessary prerequisites to be drafted by Mike Mayock, Simpson is a blue collar worker, with zero character issues, and has the leadership qualities the Raiders want in their locker room. In 2019, he was voted a team captain by his peers at Clemson.
Simpson has wide shoulders and a big base, made to drive people off their spot in the run game. For a guy who weighs 321, he moves quite well, he can help in the pull game, and will not be a liability in pass protection.
As a pass blocker Simpson has been very reliable and consistent.
Like his former teammates drafted to the Raiders before him he possess a winning pedigree and has been coached up by some of the best in the business at Clemson. It's yet to be seen what the Raiders will decide to do with Gabe Jackson but if they decide to cut him and save cap space, Simpson could challenge Denzelle Good for a starting job at right guard.
How he fits
Although Simpson is built for power, and is a road-grader, he will fit in well with Tom Cable's zone blocking scheme because of his movement skills. As I mentioned above, he moves extremely well for a man his size so he has the feet necessary to effectively reach block defenders.
Simpson has experience at both right and left guard, so assuming Gabe Jackson's is retained he would fit in nicely as a swing, reserve guard. Ritchie Incognito was re-signed in the offseason given a two year extension.
When that contract expires he will be 39 years old. Simpson is the long-term replacement for Incognito. He will have a year or two to learn behind the veteran Incognito. Early in his career I expect Simpson to provide depth and push Denzelle Good for the reserve guard role.