NFL Draft

2020 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Clemson OG John Simpson

From now until the 2020 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

#74 John Simpson / IOL Clemson – 6044 330

The Good

  • Very good size and length
  • Experience at both guard positions
  • Can handle power rushers
  • Good awareness and understand of stunts and blitzes
  • Has the power to move defenders off their spot
  • Ability to pull in both directions and attack most dangerous defender
  • Timing and aggressiveness on the second level

The Bad

  • High hips leads to forward lean and waist bend
  • Inconsistent hand placement
  • Speed to get out in front of screens
  • Feet will slow when getting push on defenders
  • Lacks the speed and agility for outside Zone blocking


  • 50 games, 29 starts
  • 2019 – Consensus All-American first-team selection of the AFCA, FWAA, Sporting News and WCFF
  • 2019 – First team All-ACC
  • Graduated in December 2019 with a degree in sociology
  • In high school, state champion in wrestling as a junior
  • High character and work ethic

Tape Breakdown

A two year starter at left guard with experience at right guard as well John Simpson is battle tested with Clemson playing in the FBS playoffs every year he was in college. He has good height and very good weight and length with nearly 34 inch arms and massive 11 inch hands.

As a pass blocker, he has solid quickness at the snap and generally plays with a wide base. He has strong hands, shows good effort to counter and with good placement inside he can control pass rushers.  He has solid short area lateral agility to move and mirror inside rushers. He plays with solid leverage and has the play strength to handle power rushes. He has good special awareness of blitzers and twists and good mental processing to switch off with teammates.

Vs Alabama, he gets push on the 3 tech crossing his face and smoothly picks up the LB blitzing behind him.


Vs Texas A&M, he is taking on a bull rush and is able to readjust his leverage and reset his feet to stem the push of the defender.


His hand placement is inconsistent and when his hands get wide he leaves his chest open. He needs patience with his punch or it will leave him reaching and off balance. His hips are too high and leans into his opponent making him susceptible to yanks and pulls. Showed adequate speed getting out in front of screens and was often use to peel back instead of lead outside.

Vs North Carolina, the 3 tech will crash into the A gap and Simpson is caught overreaching missing the defenders hip with his outside hand causing him to lean forward and not be able to get in front and cut off the rusher.


Vs LSU, his hands come out wide exposing his chest as a result he gets yanked down by the defender.


As a run blocker, he excels in the power running game displaying good pad level with play strength and leg drive to get a push on down, drive and double team blocks. He was used to pull in both directions and shows good awareness to identify and take on the most dangerous defender. His timing is good on combo blocks helping get push on the first level before moving to the second level to use his length, strength and aggressiveness to displace defenders.

At North Carolina, deep in their own end he will pull to the right and clear out the defender on the edge.


At North Carolina, he initially looks left to combo with the tackle but the DL goes outside so he turns his attention back inside to double the 0 tech and then comes off to pick up the linebacker.


Vs LSU, he’ll combo block with the LT getting a good push to turn the DL before releasing to the second level and driving on the linebacker.


He must maintain a wide base to maintain his balance and be consistent with his hands to the inside. After getting an initial push on a defender his legs don’t always remain active limiting the distance he can move defenders. He lacks the quickness and mobility to be consistently effective on outside Zone runs.

Simpson is and intelligent and powerful run blocker who can move defenders off their spot and lead around the edges.  He has a solid understanding of pass protection and handles power rushes and twists and stunts well. With some fine tuning to his hand placement and lowering of his hips he will be effective.  He lacks the quickness and agility to excel in a Zone scheme so he’d benefit most in a Power running offense.

Projection:  Early Day 3

Games Watched:  2018 – Vs Alabama; 2019 – Vs Texas A&M, At North Carolina, Vs Virginia, Vs LSU

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