John Simon might not stand out a great deal on tape, but he can be a pretty darn good player in the National Football League. The Ohio State product possesses a never-ending motor, gets his hands up there in the throwing lane and plays with great leverage at the point of contact.
For Simon, it's all going to be about proving skeptics wrong. These skeptics conclude that Simon doesn't have the athleticism to be anything more than a backup in the NFL.
Let's take a look at five things you simply must know about Simon as he prepares to prove the naysayers wrong and make a name for himself in the NFL.
Full Name: John Simon
Hometown: Youngstown, Ohio
High School: Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio
Major: Sports and Leisure Studies
According to Rivals.com, John Simon was the 36th-ranked defensive tackle nationally coming out of Ohio as a three-star recruit in 2009. The same media outlet ranked him the fourth-strongest defensive tackle in that recruiting class.
He turned down offers from Nebraska, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame to remain in his home state with the Buckeyes.
In 2012, Simon was a finalist for the Bobby Bowden Award. According to The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, this award honors:
..Player(s) who epitomizes the student-athlete. He conducts himself as a faith model in the classroom, in the community and on the field.
2009 (Freshman): 13 games, 16 tackles, six solo, four for loss, 0.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
2010 (Sophomore): 13 games, 41 tackles, 22 solo, 8.5 for loss and three sacks.
2011 (Junior): 13 games, 53 tackles, 31 solo, 16 for loss and seven sacks.
2012 (Senior): 11 games, 44 tackles, 22 solo, 14.5 for loss, nine sacks, four passes broken up and one forced fumble.
Simon was a victim of the numbers game at Ohio Sate early in his career. He was stuck behind the likes of Doug Worthington and fellow 2013 NFL draft prospect Johnathan Hankins on the Buckeyes' depth chart as a freshman in 2009.
He did start all 13 games as a sophomore and earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors. His 8.5 tackles for loss ranked third on the team behind current NFL players Cameron Heyward and Brian Rolle.
2011 saw Simon break out big time. He won the Bill Willis Award as Ohio State's most outstanding defensive player. He finished first on the team and seventh in the conference with 16 tackles for loss and led Ohio States with seven tacks.
Simon was named the Big Ten's top defensive player as a senior in 2012, recording a team-high nine sacks and four passes broken up from the defensive line.
All statistics provided by CFB Stats.
Weight: 257 pounds
Arm Length: 33.25"
Hand Size: 9.5"
Pro Day Results (Individual Workout)
Broad Jump: 121.0"
40-Yard Dash: 4.68
Vertical Jump: 34.0"
Simon didn't workout at the combine due a shoulder injury (via NFL.com). While this might have impacted his draft stock, the Ohio State product was able to do specific drills at Ohio State's pro day.
Simon didn't work out at the combine or Ohio State's pro day due to a shoulder injury he suffered at the Senior Bowl.
He was, however, able to schedule an individual workout. Gil Brandt of NFL.com filed the following report immediately after that individual event:
Simon (6-foot-1, 257 pounds) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.68 and 4.73 seconds. He had a 34-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-1 broad jump. He ran the short shuttle in 4.42 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.10 seconds. Simon did not lift on the bench press since he did not want to take the chance of re-aggravating his shoulder injury.
All measurements provided by NFL.com.
John Simon was one of eight semifinalists to be on the cover of EA Sports NCAA Football 2014. While the Ohio State product fell short of receiving the necessary votes to be a finalist, it is still mighty high praise for a relatively under-the-radar defensive player.
Simon was joined by Denard Robinson, Eddie Lacy, E.J. Manuel and Tyler Eifert, among others, as a semifinalist for the prestigious cover.
In the end, Robinson took home the honor.
Daniel Jeremiah over at NFL.com echoes what seems to be an overriding split within the scouting community:
There are huge splits on Ohio State LB/DE John Simon. Some teams like him in the 2nd rd, others think he's a late round guy.
Some of the teams that are higher on Simon than others may be looking at game film more than measurements. Simon's build and lack of athleticism doesn't seem to translate well to the next level. That being said, his on-field passion and "never give up" attitude will attract certain franchises come draft day.
Rob Rang over at CBS Sports draws an interesting comparison to Simon:
The Pittsburgh Steelers might see a clone of James Harrison in former Ohio State Buckeye pass rusher John Simon
For what it is worth, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was on hand at Simon's individual workout. Pittsburgh is in need of pass-rush help after losing James Harrison to the division rival Cincinnati Bengals.
Could Simon fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker? The answer to that question will go a long way in determining just how high he goes in the draft.
Vincent Frank is an NFL featured columnist here at Bleacher Report. Vincent is the head sports editor over at eDraft, co-host of Draft Sports Radio, which airs every Monday and Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m. ET, and a fantasy writer for Pro Football Focus.
Go ahead and give him a follow on Twitter @VincentFrankNFL.