The Indianapolis Colts recently signed Houston Texans outside linebacker John Simon as a free agent, and we take a look at one of the newest members of the team:
Originally drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the 6’1″, 260 pound outside linebacker is fresh off of a season with the Houston Texans in which he recorded 51 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and a forced fumble in 11 games (5 starts).
While he was waived as a member of the Ravens, Simon has found success with the Texans, as he’d combined for 8.5 sacks over the past two seasons.
Per Pro Football Focus (subscription), the 26 year old was ranked their 39th best ‘edge defender’ with a +78.3 grade overall.
Additionally, he was rated as Pro Football Focus’ 30th best free agent of 2017:
"30. John Simon, EDGE, Houston TexansBefore injury, John Simon was chipping in well as a pass-rusher in the Houston defense that was able to generate pressure from a lot of different players. His run defense has been good in each of the past three seasons, but 2016 saw him far more efficient in his pass rush, with 26 total QB pressures and two batted passes in his 205 pass-rushing snaps. This was the highest percentage of the team’s defensive snaps that Simon has seen in his career, and his best performance individually, so he will likely be pushing for a starting spot in free agency."
Simon won’t necessarily ‘wow’ anyone, but he appears to be an upside signing for the Colts and a player that fits into their mold in getting younger and more productive at linebacker than in recent seasons.
The 4th-year veteran has never been a starter for a full season, but the Colts could be looking to rely upon him as their starting right outside linebacker–hoping that his best football is still yet to come.
Here’s what new general manager Chris Ballard said on Simon’s signing (via the Indianapolis Star’s Zak Keefer):
"“John possesses a strong balance between his pass rushing ability and run defense. He’s a physical linebacker who has matured on one of the top defensive units in the league over the past three seasons. John provides a significant upgrade to our defense, and we’re excited to welcome him in Indianapolis.”"
Simon won’t be confused with a star pass rusher anytime soon, but at the same time, this appears to be a pretty modest amount for a player who could ultimately become a solid starting outside linebacker for the Colts.