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Cowboys draft 2023: LB Trenton Simpson scouting report

Scouting report series on this year’s draft prospects with player projections and comparisons. This review is of Clemson Tigers linebacker Trenton Simpson.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 19 Miami at Clemson Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We continue with our 2023 NFL Draft draft prospect review of players that could interest the Dallas Cowboys. Today we look at linebacker Trenton Simpson from the Clemson Tigers.

Previous prospect reviews:

DT Bryan Bresee
CB Kelee Ringo
LB Andre Carter II
CB Joey Porter Jr
WR Jalin Hyatt
OG O’Cyrus Torrence
RB Bijan Robinson
C John Michael Schmitz
RB Devon Achane
CB Devon Witherspoon
RB Jahmyr Gibbs
TE Darnell Washington
DE Will McDonald IV
CB Emmanuel Forbes
iOL Steve Avila
WR Quentin Johnson

Trenton Simpson was graded as a fiv4-star recruit out of high school (247 Sports). He was the number one ranked linebacker recruit and ranked 26th nationally, as such he was heavily recruited getting 25 offers. He choose to play at Clemson and enrolled in 2020.

In his freshman year Simpson played 243 snaps on defense. He recorded 26 tackles, 6.5 tackles-for-loss and added four sacks to his tally. He also managed to record one forced fumble against Boston College.

In 2021 during Simpson’s sophomore season he played 529 snaps. He made 65 total tackles, 12.5 tackles-for-loss and made an impressive 31 defensive stops. He also added seven sacks and 31 pressures on passing plays. In Week 12 against Wake Forest, Simpson had his best career game. He created five pressures, two sacks, seven tackles and made four defensive stops.

In 2022 as a junior, Simpson played a total of 553 snaps for Clemson. He recorded 28 tackles and 6.5 tackles-for-loss while also adding 26 defensive stops. On pass-rushing plays Simpson had 14 pressures and four sacks.

Trenton Simpson
Clemson Tigers
5-star high school recruit
Height- 6’2”
Weight- 235
Hands- 10 1/4
Arm Length- 32 3/8
Wingspan- 77 1/2

NFL Combine/Pro Day
10-Yard Split- 1.55s (CM)
40-Yard Time- 4.43s (CM)
Vert- 40.5” (CM)
Broad- 118 (PD)
Bench- 25 (CM)
Shuttle- 4.25s (PD)
3C- 7.07s (PD)

2022- Third Team ACC

Overall- 85.5/100
Tackling- 80/100
Run Defense- 70/100
Pass Rush- 79/100
Pass Coverage- 72/100
Speed- 91/100
Strength- 78/100
Acceleration- 94/100
Agility- 68/100


  • His frame has plenty of room to add weight.
  • A quick downhill hitter that does well in pursuit of the ball carrier.
  • Has powerful counters as a pass rusher.
  • Has elite levels of burst and acceleration at the snap. This helps him fly past blocks as a rusher.
  • Elite speed to close quickly on running plays and in pursuit.
  • Hard-hitting tackler.
  • Finds the ball-carrier well in the pile and always manages to bring him down.
  • Elite at playing from sideline-to-sideline and eating up space.
  • Versatile and used on all three-downs at Clemson. Has decent ability on coverage plays. A proven record as an overhang defender.


  • Needs to work on his reactionary skills.
  • Has a tendency to be too aggressive and abandon his assignment.
  • Can take confusing angles off the snap.
  • Lacks patience and over-runs the play. Add his speed factor and you see him a lot upfield past the quarterback.
  • Will sometimes guess the play as opposed to reading his landmarks.
  • Can get out-muscled on run plays and taken off the ball easily. Seen happening often when he’s asked to anchor.
  • Took a big drop in production in 2022 despite having more opportunity.
  • Will bounce off tackles when taking on the ball carrier head-on.
  • Needs to learn better timing and accuracy with his hands to deconstruct blocks.


Any team that drafts Trenton Simpson need to have a plan for him. He’s an athletic outside linebacker that has the skills in all phases of the game to be impactful on defense in the NFL. His rare speed and explosiveness for his size combined with his abilities to rush the passer, pursue running backs, or drop into pass coverage, are what will intrigue NFL teams the most. He is in a lot of ways what the linebacker position is transitioning to, but lacking power and strength to hold on running plays at the point of attack or setting the edge is an area for concern. His biggest negative is his lack of natural feel and instincts which coaches will need to work on to unlock his full potential. Depending on the team that drafts him, they will need to decide whether they want to add weight to him to help him stack or keep him as a nickel-type linebacker.

Second-round grade.

(All scout consensus ranking: 43rd)

Jabril Cox

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