Justin Simmons voted the NFL’s top safety by his peers

Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons (31) reacts after a play in the first quarter against the Washington Football Team at Empower Field at Mile High.
Oct 31, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons (31) reacts after a play in the first quarter against the Washington Football Team at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

In his annual series polling over 50 NFL executives, scouts, coaches and players about the top performers at every position, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler has found impressive praise for both Patrick Surtain II and Justin Simmons.

After releasing the results of his cornerback poll yesterday, Fowler dropped the results of his safety conversations today, and for the first time, Simmons found himself atop the list of safeties, and he wasn’t ranked lower than eighth by anyone.

“Simmons nearly took the safety crown a year ago but was edged out by Minkah Fitzpatrick,” Fowler wrote. “Simmons secured the top ranking this time around thanks to another season of consistent production and scheme versatility.”

Few safeties are as versatile as Simmons, who can do anything you’d ask of him at a high level and is highly adept at defending both the run and the pass. Based on the quotes Fowler gathered from around the league, that versatility did appear to be the big selling point for Simmons.

“He can play deep in coverage, helps with the run and he can cover in man coverage on a tight end or a running back,” an AFC scout said, via Fowler’s reporting. “He’s got the ideal range and size to handle everything.”

That was parroted by an unamed AFC defensive coach by way of Fowler’s article.

“If you’re judging safety play by who’s the most complete and checks the most boxes, he’s that guy for me,” the coach reportedly told Fowler.

Based on Fowler’s research, considering Simmons got a majority of the top votes here and it was mentioned yesterday that Surtain got first-place votes from ‘high-ranking talent evaluators,’ it appears very likely that there are multiple NFL executives that believe the Denver Broncos have both the best safety and the best cornerback in the sport.

In a pass-happy NFL, that couldn’t be more valuable.

Whether or not you agree with their evaluation, it’s impossible to deny that it’s a positive omen.

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