Simon has a well-deserved reputation as a workout warrior, putting up big numbers and going through tough endurance skills in the weight room ever since high school. He’s also a two-time team captain at Ohio State, presenting just about everything an NFL team wants in a prospect in terms of strength and leadership.
He played regularly as a reserve defensive tackle in his true freshman season (16 tackles, three for loss, 1.5 sacks), then started all 13 contests in 2010 on his way to honorable mention All-Big Ten accolades (41 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, three sacks—one in the Buckeyes’ Sugar Bowl over Arkansas). And though Simon was a consistent pain for offensive linemen to handle during his productive junior campaign, his numbers were bolstered by a three-game stretch in the middle of the conference season; nine of his 16 tackles for loss and five of his seven sacks for the season came in consecutive weeks versus Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. In 2012, as a senior, Simon racked up nine sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss, and one forced fumble. His play earned him a first-team All-Big Ten selection.
Strong, high-motor defender. Can break down to tackle ballcarriers in the backfield. Combines agility with excellent upper-body strength to be a secure and explosive tackler. Works down the line with a blocker on his shoulder without giving up ground. Will pressure the upfield shoulder of slower tackles when selling out as a rusher, possesses enough flexibility to capture quarterbacks stepping up in the pocket. Patient when containing, stays engaged until ballcarriers goes inside or outside, then rips off to chase. Uses his hands very well, often batting down the arms of linemen attempting to block him. Displays good pad level. Two-time captain leads his teammates vocally and by example.
Shorter than many teams prefer in a defensive lineman, and his length is only adequate. Late to react to the snap, less than stellar first step. Slow in spin move attempts. Can struggle to get off blocks from better tackles and will lose sight of the ball at times. Might need to drop some weight to gain agility and quickness whether playing end or linebacker. Not very experienced getting deep drops in coverage or playing man-up for longer periods of time.
This two-time All-Big Ten pick and two-time Buckeyes captain lacks the height and length most NFL teams want in a defensive end, but teams with less stringent size requirements will covet his exceptional weight-room work ethic. He's late off the ball, and not an explosive athlete, but he understands pad level and hand usage. He's going to have to prove to teams that he can handle himself effectively enough in coverage.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.