Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons and wide receiver Tee Higgins took center stage Thursday during the Tigers' pro day at the Allen N. Reeves Football Complex in South Carolina.
Simmons, a hybrid linebacker/safety in the mold of the Kansas City Chiefs' Tyrann Mathieu, has been one of the biggest standouts during the pre-draft process.
The 21-year-old Nebraska native put his speed on display by running the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. He waited for the pro day to showcase his strength and came through with 20 reps on the bench press Thursday.
Simmons' only other on-field activity during the workout was a game of rock-paper-scissors with teammate Sean Pollard, opting otherwise to stand on his strong combine performance.
Todd Summers of 7News reported the linebacker did meet with some team scouts throughout the session.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked Simmons as the No. 4 overall prospect on his latest big board. He's a strong bet to land somewhere in the top five with the Detroit Lions (third overall pick) and New York Giants (fourth) both in the market for an upgrade at the position.
The outlook is less settled for Higgins, Miller's No. 21 prospect in the 2020 class.
He didn't make a major impact in the team's two College Football Playoff games and declined to participate in the combine, citing the Tigers' long season.
"We had a long season and I only had four or five weeks to prepare for this, and I feel like that's not enough time to compared to all these other guys who had two months," Higgins told NFL Media. "I just feel like I need to be more prepared to run the 40 and all the other drills."
His physical testing Thursday was a bit of a mixed bag. His unofficial 4.43-second 40 was encouraging (Clemson will provide official times later), but the other numbers were mediocre.
Higgins looked far more comfortable in positional drills, though. That's what makes him such a difficult player to pin down heading into the draft. His production over the past two years is terrific and his tape suggests he's a good football player, even without the benefit truly elite athleticism.
The receiver has registered 118 catches for 2,103 yards and 25 touchdowns in 30 appearances since the start of the 2018 campaign.
Nick Farabaugh @FarabaughFB
I don’t know if Tee Higgins makes it to 49, but he doesn’t play at a 4.43 game speed if that truly is his time. It’s something to note. He’s notably slower on tape. He’s more a jump ball, go up and get it type of guy. But regardless I have my doubts that he makes it to 49.
Both Simmons and Higgins will be expected to make an immediate impact at the next level. They'll find out their destinations when the NFL draft gets underway April 23 in Las Vegas.