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Nice Read on Simpson


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Baltimore Ravens special teams coordinator Chris Horton was "one of the happiest guys in the building" when his team selected linebacker Trenton Simpson in Round 3 - and he delivered a full scouting report as to why.

After waiting over 60 picks between their first- and third-round selections in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens landed the player that general manager Eric DeCosta thought was "clearly" the best available in Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson.

Viewed as a versatile piece with plenty of upside, Simpson has a lot of fans in Baltimore's building - perhaps none bigger than special teams coordinator Chris Horton.

DeCosta stressed early on draft night that Horton was "one of the happiest guys in the building" with the selection of Simpson - but why?

"It was pretty easy to love this guy," Horton said. "You turn on the tape, and you watch him fly around, you watch him get to the football, you watch him make plays. When I had the privilege to evaluate that guy as a special teamer, it was a no-brainer for me; I want that kind of player."

The 6-2, 235-pound Simpson made his mark defensively at Clemson, earning third-team All-ACC honors this past season. Across 37 games (27 starts) for the Tigers, Simpson recorded 187 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, six pass breakups and three forced fumbles.

Simpson ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, only confirming his on-field speed, and will enter the NFL with a defined skill set as a "run and hit linebacker (who's) very, very explosive," per DeCosta.

But there was more to the evaluation. Earlier in Simpson's collegiate career, he played special teams; it presented Horton with the opportunity to see how the 21-year-old responded when he wasn't starting and would offer a look at whether he could make an impact in the game's third phase, where he'll likely see most of his snaps as a rookie.

What Baltimore's fifth-year special teams coordinator saw was a player who flew around the field and showed plenty of translatable attributes that ultimately made him fall in love during the pre-draft process.

That guy has the traits – those Raven traits – that we look for," Horton said. "He was tough, he was fast, he was physical. He loved playing football, and his energy was just off the chart. That's the kind of players we've had in this building, so I truly believe that guy's going to do some good things for us this year."

Now, the ball is in Simpson's court to deliver - but Baltimore certainly feels as if it landed an impactful player who can prove exactly that as early as 2023, where a special teams opportunity awaits.




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