Justin Simmons
refer to caption
Simmons in the 2016 NFL season.
No. 31 – Denver Broncos
Personal information
Born: (1993-11-19) November 19, 1993 (age 26)
Manassas, Virginia
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:202 lb (92 kg)
Career information
High school:Martin County (Stuart, Florida)
College:Boston College
NFL Draft:2016 / Round: 3 / Pick: 98
Career history
* Denver Broncos ( 2016–present)
Roster status:Active
Career NFL statistics as of 2018
Total tackles:195
Forced fumbles:0
Pass deflections:13
Defensive touchdowns:1
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Justin Simmons (born November 19, 1993) is an American football safety for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Boston College.

College careerEdit

Simmons attended Boston College where he enrolled as a communication major in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences. While at Boston College, he played both safety and cornerback.[1]

In 2012, as a freshman he appeared in all 12 of the Eagles games. He started six games at free safety and one at cornerback. He finished seventh on the team with 52 tackles, he was tied for the team lead with two forced fumbles. In 2013, as a sophomore, he appeared in all 13 games, he recorded 34 tackles, 22 solo tackles, and three pass break-ups. In 2014, as a junior, he started all 13 games, the first seven at free safety and the final six at right cornerback, moving due to injuries on the team. For the season, he led the team with 76 tackles, 63 solo and two interceptions. He finished second on the team with five pass breakups. Before the 2015 season, he was awarded the Jay McGillis Memorial Scholarship Award.[2] For the season, as a senior, he started all 12 games at free safety. He finished the season third on the team with 67 tackles, 49 solo. He was tied for 20th in the nation and second in the conference with five interceptions and tied for first in the conference with three fumble recoveries. He was named Second Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association and ACC head coaches. He was also named Second Team All-ACC by Phil Steele and the Associated Press. He was named to Steele's All-American Fourth Team and All-America honorable mention.

Professional careerEdit

Simmons attended the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and recorded the best 20-yard shuttle (3.85s) since 2006 (3.81s).[3] He also tied Braxton Miller with the best 60-yard shuttle since 2014 (10.72) with a time of 10.84 seconds.[3] He also had the best time in the 60-yard shuttle and was second overall in the three-cone drill.[3] On March 16, 2016, Simmons participated at Boston College's pro day, but chose to stand on the majority of his combine numbers and only performed the 40-yard dash (4.53s), 20-yard dash (2.62s), and 10-yard dash (1.56s).

30px External video
16px Justin Simmons' NFL Combine Workout

Simmons performed at private workouts with Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints and also attended pre-draft visits with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions.[4][5][6] At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Simmons was projected to be a third round pick by NFL draft experts and scouts. He was ranked as the fourth best free safety prospect in the draft by and was ranked the sixth best safety by NFL analyst Mike Mayock and Scouts Inc.[7][8]

Pre-draft measureables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
6 ft 2⅜ in 202 lb 4.61 s 1.60 s 2.67 s 3.85 s 6.58 s 40 in 10 ft 6 in 16 rep


The Denver Broncos selected Simmons in the third round (98th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft. Simmons was the seventh safety drafted in 2016.[11]

30px External video
16px Broncos draft Justin Simmons 98th overall

On May 13, 2016, the Denver Broncos signed Simmons to four-year, $3.06 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $645,420.[12][13]

Simmons entered training camp slated as the primary backup safety.[14] Head coach Gary Kubiak named Simmons the backup free safety to begin the regular season, behind Darian Stewart.[15]

He made his professional regular season debut in the Denver Broncos' season-opener against the Carolina Panthers and recorded one tackle in their 21–20 victory. Simmons was inactive for the Broncos' Week 3 victory at the Cincinnati Bengals due to a wrist injury.[16] He was sidelined for two more games (Weeks 5–6) due to a small fracture in his wrist.[17] In Week 8, Simmons recorded one tackle and made his first career sack as the Broncos defeated the San Diego Chargers 27–19. Simmons sacked Chargers’ quarterback Phillip Rivers for a nine-yard loss during the fourth quarter.[18] On November 13, 2016, Simmons leaped over the offensive line and blocked an extra point attempt by the New Orleans Saints' kicker Wil Lutz. The ball was recovered by Broncos' teammate Will Parks and was returned for an 84-yard game-winning safety as the Broncos defeated the New Orleans Saints 25–23.[19] On December 18, 2016, Simmons earned his first career start and recorded two solo tackles during a 16–3 loss against the New England Patriots in Week 15. On December 25, 2016, Simmons started in place of T. J. Ward who sustained a concussion the previous week.[20] He collected a season-high five combined tackles, broke up two passes, and made his first career interception in the Broncos' 33–10 loss at the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 16. Simmons intercepted a pass by Chiefs’ quarterback Alex Smith, that was initially intended for wide receiver Tyreek Hill, and returned it for a 38-yard gain in the first quarter.[21] Simmons finished his rookie season in 2016 with 30 combined tackles (25 solo), four pass deflections, two interceptions, and one sack in 13 games and three games.[22]


On January 2, 2017, Denver Broncos’ head coach Gary Kubiak announced his decision to retire.[23] On January 11, 2017, the Denver Broncos hired Miami Dolphins’ defensive coordinator Vance Joseph as their new head coach. Joseph hired Joe Woods to replace Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator.[24] Simmons entered training camp slated as a backup safety, but began competing against T.J. Ward to be the starting strong safety after impressing the coaching staff. Head coach Vance Joseph named Simmons the starting strong safety to begin the regular season and elected to release T. J. Ward as part of the Broncos’ final roster cuts.[25]

In Week 6, he collected a season-high 11 solo tackles and deflected two passes during a 23–10 loss against the New York Giants. On December 3, 2017, Simmons made seven combined tackles, broke up a pass attempt, and returned an interception for the first touchdown of his career during a 35–9 loss at the Miami Dolphins in a Week 13. Simmons intercepted a pass thrown by Dolphins’ quarterback Jay Cutler, that was intended for wide receiver DeVante Parker, and returned it for a 65-yard touchdown during the third quarter.[26] On December 10, 2017, Simmons injured his ankle while celebrating a strip/sack with Brandon Marshall during a 23–0 victory against the New York Jets in Week 13. On December 13, 2017, the Denver Broncos placed Simmons on injured reserve due to a sprained ankle.[27] He finished the season with 68 combined tackles (49 solo), five passes defensed, two interceptions, one sack, and one touchdown in 13 games and 13 starts.[22]


Simmons entered training camp slated as the starting free safety. Head coach Vance Joseph named Simmons and Darian Stewart the starting safeties to begin 2018.[28] In Week 11, he collected a season-high ten combined tackles (five solo) and deflected a pass during a 23–22 win at the Los Angeles Chargers. On December 2, 2018, Simmons made nine combined tackles, broke up a pass, and made his third interception of the season during a 24–10 victory at the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 13.[29] Simmons started all 16 games in 2018 and recorded a career-high 97 combined tackles (71 solo), four pass deflections, and three interceptions.[22] On December 31, 2018, the Denver Broncos announced their decision to fire head coach Vance Joseph after they finished with a 6–10 record.[30] He received an overall grade of 60.8 from Pro Football Focus, which ranked 74th among all qualified safeties in 2018.[31]


  1. After position switch, BC safety Justin Simmons was sharp at corner
  2. Vega, Michael (September 13, 2015). "Justin Simmons receives McGillis Scholarship Award".
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Benbow, Julian (March 18, 2016). "How BC’s Justin Simmons became a hot NFL prospect".
  4. "Cowboys reportedly work out safety Justin Simmons, who had five INTs in his senior season". March 31, 2016.
  5. "A comprehensive list of reported Detroit Lions' pre-draft visits, prospect workouts". April 27, 2016. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  6. "Saints to work out Boston College safety Justin Simmons, source says". March 20, 2016. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  7. Mayock, Mike (April 25, 2016). "Mike Mayock's 2016 NFL Draft top 100 prospect rankings". Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  8. "NFL Justin Simmons -ESPN". Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  9. "NFL Events: Combine Player Profiles - Justin Simmons". Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  10. "Justin Simmons - Boston College, FS : 2016 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile". Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  11. Hayre, Chris (April 29, 2016). "Broncos select S Justin Simmons with the 98th pick in the third round". Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  12. " Justin Simmons contract".
  13. Mason, Andrew (May 13, 2016). "Broncos sign draft picks Devontae Booker and Justin Simmons".
  14. "2016 Broncos positional outlook: Safety". June 20, 2016. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  15. "Broncos depth chart 2016: Michael Schofield to start at right guard". September 6, 2016. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  16. "Broncos safety Justin Simmons has small wrist fracture, hopes to play vs. Bengals". September 22, 2016. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  17. "Inactives for Broncos vs. Falcons". October 9, 2016. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  18. "San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos - October 30th, 2016".
  19. Wolfe, Cameron (November 11, 2016). "How Broncos rookie safeties Will Parks, Justin Simmons converged on game-winning PAT block and score". Denver Post.
  20. "T.J. Ward in concussion protocol; C.J. Anderson won’t return this season". December 21, 2016. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  21. "Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs - December 25th, 2016".
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 "NFL Player stats: Justin Simmons (career)".
  23. "Broncos coach Gary Kubiak retires from coaching".
  24. "Broncos hire Vance Joseph as next head coach". January 11, 2017.
  25. "Denver Broncos 2017 depth chart". September 11, 2017.
  26. "Denver Broncos at Miami Dolphins - December 3rd, 2017".
  27. Swanson, Ben (December 13, 2017). "Broncos place Justin Simmons on injured reserve".
  28. "Broncos announce their week one depth chart". September 3, 2018.
  29. "NFL Player stats: Justin Simmons (2018)".
  30. "Denver Broncos fire head coach Vance Joseph". December 31, 2018.
  31. "Pro Football Focus: Justin Simmons".

External linksEdit


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