Recruiting Analysis: Justin Northwest OL Darrell Simpson

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The first thing I noticed when watching film on Darrell Simpson is that the kid is absolutely enormous. Simpson at 6’7” and weighing in at nearly 340 pounds stands at least half a head taller and weighs about 100 pounds more than the average offensive lineman his age.

It’s funny; people used to marvel at the Washington Redskins offensive line when they averaged around 300 pounds in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Now, we have high school aged kids that dwarf the original “hogs”. It truly is comical to see some of the defenders who line up across from Simpson. The situation is reminiscent of a real life David and Goliath story, except in this story Goliath usually emerges victorious.

Simpson is the literal definition of a “behemoth”. Even when he’s out of position, he moves anyone that comes across his path about 3-5 yards backwards and then plants them into the turf. Simpson also seems to have a great understanding of his role on any given play. At a level of play where it’s not out of the ordinary to see a lineman block his man directly into the ball carrier, Simpson understands that he needs to block the defender in a way that allows the running back to cut and extend the play downfield.

But while Simpson may be physically intimidating, he is still extremely raw. There are numerous plays where he gets by solely on strength and size alone, which is his Simpson’s biggest drawback. His technique is the first thing to go after the ball is snapped, his punch is wide, his feet leave something to be desired and he often plays high. Any one of those 3 things is enough to cause the average lineman to lose his battle upfront, but Simpson overcomes all of these slip ups through his use of raw power.

This “rawness” in a way might be a selling point for future college coaches. It might sound counterintuitive to think this way, but take a second and think, would you rather build a pot of fresh clay or with a semi-finished bowl that already has some built in flaws?

Simpson will undoubtedly play ball at the next level. His intangibles make it hard for almost any college to turn him away but he will still have a lot of work to when he finally steps on the campus of wherever he ends up. Ultimately, this is how I see Simpson: he’s an extremely large ball of wet clay, his future college coach is the sculptor, and whether or not his game becomes a work of art is entirely up to how hard he works once he gets on campus.

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