2006 Draft Preview: S Ko Simpson

In Seahawks.NET's continuing preview of the safeties in April's NFL Draft, Ryan Rigmaiden looks at a playmaker from the SEC who lacks experience, but who is climbing up several teams' draft boards. That athlete is South Carolina's Ko Simpson.

4. Ko Simpson, S South Carolina 6-1, 205 (4.40)

NFL Comparison - Chris Hope, Tennessee Titans

Overview -

Is very raw; has played only 23 games for the Gamecocks and has also been slowed by injuries. Is extremely athletic and shows great speed in deep coverage. Can get beat, but has tremendous ability to recover and gain ground. Despite his short career, Simpson is instinctive and is your prototypical ball hawking free safety. Doesn't have elite size, but hits hard and tackles well.

Against the Pass -

Good range and speed. Shows awareness and can get to the ball (6 interceptions two years ago). Solid athlete; can cover some receivers one-on-one and be physical when he wants to be. Is great at anticipating the throw and breaks on the ball well. Technique needs more consistency.

Against the Run -

Isn't overly physical, but can deliver some nice hits. Is aggressive and finds the ball quickly. Takes good angles to the ball-carrier and wraps up.

Roster Impact for Seattle -

Has the talent to play immediately in sub packages and special teams, but his lack of experience may hinder his ability to start as a rookie. Would be a great fit at FS, but Ken Hamlin's future with the team would have to be very much in question in order for the ‘Hawks to pull the trigger on him in the first round.

Final Analysis -

Simpson's potential warrants a first round pick, but it's definitely possible that he slips to the second round. Some Draft "experts" like Mel Kiper love him, but I haven't seen enough production to grade him out that high. He has good speed, anticipation and athletic ability, but his lack of experience may scare some teams away. Also, Simpson's academics were obviously not that important to him because he only finished four semesters of college and was academically ineligible as he left high school. He doesn't sound like a Ruskell-type player.

As usual, any questions or comments can be sent to rlrigmaiden@hotmail.com. Thanks for taking the time to write in.

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