Alabama linebacker Juwan Simpson has a big day ahead of him even before he
sits down to watch the NFL Draft at the end of April. Simpson and teammate
Le'Ron McClain will be participating in the school's annual Walk of Fame on
"This tradition has been going on for a long time and the captains that
are selected come back before the A-Day game and on Denny Chimes they have every
captain put their cleat mark and they're handprint and in little square they get
their name and the year there, so it's a big deal," Simpson said during our
recent interview. "It's such a pleasure and a honor to
be in this category amongst some great players and I'm happy that I can do
The 6-foot-2, 228-pound linebacker is preparing himself for draft weekend, and believes his extensive special teams work
will help him make an impact with an NFL team right away.
|Juwan Simpson (left) is congratulated by teammate Wallace Gilberry after making an interception (AP Photo/Rogelio Solis)|
"My first two years I did every special teams except for field goal,"
he said. "But I was on kickoff, kickoff return, punt and punt return. As I
got into the starter rotation and playing more snaps my junior/senior season, I
was reduced to just punt team. But I was a backup on all the other teams so I
was still practicing and involved in the special teams."
Until just recently, Simpson hasn't been able to do any personal workouts for
teams because of a hamstring pull he suffered on his Pro Day.
"I was a little disappointed I couldn't do all of the drills that day, but
the main thing I was worried about then was getting my hamstring back
right," he said. "And now its fine. I'm running, I'm back at 100
percent so that's a good thing."
Simpson said that he and his agent were going to be contacting teams to let
them know of his availability for workouts prior to draft weekend. He believes
that whether or not he gets together with teams between now and then, they will
recognize the traits and skills he possesses from watching game film and from
scouting reports that will convince them that he'll be a strong contributor at
the pro level.
"My instincts help me stand out," he explained. "I feel like I
get to the ball real well. I feel like I'm around the ball every play and I
think that's what distinguishes me.
"A lot of the guys in this year's draft class are real good, but can
they be good throughout consecutive games or throughout consecutive seasons? I
think my numbers show that I'm pretty good game-in and game-out, and I think
that's a major plus for me."
Scout.com subscribers can listen in on the rest of my exclusive interview
with Juwan Simpson where he talks about the team he sat down with at the
Combine, valuable insight he got from former teammate DeMeco Ryans, his skills
against the run and the pass, and more:
Listen to Audio
Learn more about Juwan Simpson by visiting his player
profile page here at Scout.com.
|A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the Scout.com network and syndicated through FoxSports.com's NFL team pages.