Jeffery Simmons

This time last year when ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler polled over 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and players to determine the top 10 players at each position, Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons earned some lofty praise.

Called the closest player to Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle by an anonymous general manager, Simmons again earned some high marks in this year’s ESPN poll, ranked as the No. 2 defensive tackle in the NFL behind Donald.

"One of the best defenders in football," an NFL scouting director told Fowler. "Right behind Donald as far as tackles. He's the scary guy you don't want to see."

Added an anonymous AFC scout: "Game-wrecker. Can play 3-technique or nose tackle, high motor, physical, unique blend of get-off quickness and power, impacts the game in both phases. Another guy you have to know where he is at all times."

Simmons’ star rose tremendously following the 2021 season where he registered a career-high 8.5 sacks— third-best on the team — and made his first Pro Bowl team. The third-year DT also had eight tackles and three sacks in Tennessee’s playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, and he had two additional sacks that were negated due to penalties.

The soon-to-be-25-year-old also added 54 tackles, 25 QB pressures, 16 QB hits, 12 tackles for loss, 10 QB hurries and six passes defensed. Simmons ranked fifth among all defensive tackles in sacks, sixth in QB hurries and seventh in QB pressures.

Simmons didn’t participate in Tennessee’s mandatory minicamp in mid-June, and it’s believed he and the Titans have begun preliminary discussions on a new contract. He will earn $2.2 million in 2022 and $10.75 million fully guaranteed for the 2023 season after Tennessee picked up his fifth-year option in April.

Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_