Clemson moved Isaiah Simmons all over the field last season by choice.
The Cardinals may have to do so out of need.
The safety position has been slammed by injuries in the first three weeks, as starters Budda Baker (thumb) and Jalen Thompson (ankle) won’t play against the Panthers in Week 4 and the availability of reserve Chris Banjo (hamstring) is in doubt.
Simmons has been practicing exclusively at inside linebacker since the Cardinals made him the No. 8 overall pick in April’s draft but coach Kliff Kingsbury said there have been recent conversations about playing him at safety to shore up the spot.
“Isaiah is a guy who played multiple positions, obviously, there at Clemson,” Kingsbury said. “He has a feel for some of that. With those bodies being down, we may have to look into that.”
Simmons has only played 35 defensive snaps through three games, as veterans Jordan Hicks and De’Vondre Campbell have been the full-time components at inside linebacker.
Simmons excelled as a safety in college, playing there the majority of the time while also seeing time at linebacker. At 6-foot-4 and 238 pounds, he is larger than a traditional safety, which will be a test in coverage against wide receivers.
There is also the mental jump, as Simmons was already trying to learn the NFL game at one position and now may add another to his plate.
“He obviously has to learn an entirely new defense, new terminology, new scheme, but he has a feel for multiple positions, and I think that will help the learning curve,” Kingsbury said. “Without the offseason, particularly, it made it tough on him, but he’s made big strides recently and we’ll continue to try and get him more incorporated in the defense.”