5 prospects linked to the Bengals in way-too-early mock drafts
3. Trenton Simpson, Linebacker, Clemson
Selected by: Seth Trachtman of Yardbarker
Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson has had to wait his turn but 2022 should be the year when he explodes into the public consciousness. Earning comparisons to fellow former Tiger Isaiah Simmons, the 6’3″, 225 pound Simpson has the size and athleticism to be the do-it-all linebacker the NFL values so highly.
Simpson became a starter in his second year and recorded 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. That was reflected in his PFF grade of 89.8 in pass rushing. He also improved his coverage ability, allowing a receiving % of 70.4 as opposed to 83.3% in 2020.
Simpson’s versatility would be a real boon in Lou Anarumo’s defense. The coordinator was clearly excited by the options a chess piece like Daxton Hill gives him and he would likely be just as giddy with a weapon like Simpson. He has lined up in the slot, as an overhang, and in a more traditional linebacker role.
As we move more to positionless football it’s easy to imagine Simpson being utilized in blitz packages, dropping into coverage, and generally wreaking havoc. We have seen players like Micah Parsons dominate early in their career with such a role and Simpson has that potential.
Bengals starter Germaine Pratt enters a contract year this year and should the Bengals choose not to renew his deal, a player like Simpson would mesh nicely with the likes of Logan Wilson and Akeem Davis-Gaither.