Utah Wide Receiver Demari Simpkins Is An NFL Draft Prospect We Should Be Talking About
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former Utah and NFL linebacker Stevenson Sylvester believes that Utes wide receiver Demari Simpkins will have the longest NFL career.
Utah is projected to have around 8 players selected during the draft and 12 players that will have at least a training camp invite from an NFL team.
Sylvester made his case as to why Simpkins will have the longest NFL career among players like Jaylon Johnson, Zack Moss, Julian Blackmon, Terrell Burgess, Bradlee Anae and Leki Fotu.
“When I was in the NFL, I saw guys have terrible college careers but had amazing NFL careers,” Sylvester told KSL Sports. “Then I knew guys that had amazing college careers and terrible NFL careers. There is a difference. It is all about commitment, strength and understanding and being able to handle adversity and that’s what coach Whittingham teaches at Utah is how to handle adversity.”
The former Utah linebacker continued to make his case for Simpkins at the next level.
“So, when these guys get into competition battles, when they get into the long strains of the NFL season and you go deep into the playoffs, they are going to have stuff that other players don’t have and that’s because they have been taught that their whole careers at Utah,” Sylvester said. “I think a lot of guys are going to have tremendous careers but guys who are just dedicated to football and literally can go 365, 24/7, I think Demari Simpkins will be up there.”
Sylvester joined the Crimson Corner podcast to talk about Simpkins, the rest of the 2020 Utah football players going to the NFL and his time at Utah from 2006-09.
Why Simpkins Will Surprise NFL Teams
Not a lot of “draft experts” are talking about Simpkins but that isn’t a problem according to Sylvester.
“There is not a lot of chatter about Demari Simpkins and that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Sylvester stated.
It only takes one team for Simpkins to take off and thrive in the NFL.
“I think Demari will end up going to a great team and just really take off,” mentioned Sylvester. “I think a lot of NFL teams love the guy. He is definitely a diamond in the rough. They like him because they have watched him practice, they like his work ethic, they talk to the strength coaches about how he is outside of football and that’s all they need. He is going to get into training camp and is going to kill it.”
Sylvester thinks that Simpkins has so many strengths to his game that if the right team takes a chance on the former Utah wide receiver that he could really take off at the next level.
“He can do many things, he can do kick return, punt return, wide receiver, a motion athlete and he blocks,” Sylvester said. “Even when he is not being targeted or having a bad game, he is still in it mentally in the fourth quarter and those are things you look for as an NFL scout. I think he is going to find himself on a really good team and get a really good quarterback and come in and shock a lot of people.”
Simpkins appeared in 51 games in four seasons with the Utes. He caught 106 passes for 1,161 yards and 6 touchdowns in his college career.
Comparable Situations To Simpkins
The former Utah linebacker used former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz as a prime example for the situation that Simpkins is in.
“Victor Cruz came in and in his second preseason game had three touchdowns in one game and his career just took off,” Sylvester said. “He came from this little Hofstra school, you don’t know anything about him and the next thing you know, he blows up. You get guys like Derrick Shelby (former Utah DE), nobody was talking about as a free agent and ends up having an amazing career. Had a couple of contracts with Atlanta and Miami.”
Another guy that Sylvester compared Simpkins to as far as back story is Antonio Brown, who Simpkins worked out with during the off-season a couple of years ago.
“I have been on teams with guys like Antonio Brown who had some tremendous stats and crazy work ethic,” Sylvester stated. “That is what Demari has, crazy work eithic like Antonio.”