Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons -- considered a potential top-10 pick on the 2019 NFL Draft -- has been informed that he is among those collegiate players not being invited to the NFL combine. According to a report from NFL.com's Tom Pelissero, both Simmons and Colorado State wide receiver Preston Williams (a potential late-round prospect) were informed that they do not meet the criteria under the league's policy regarding issues of violence.
Mississippi State DT Jeffery Simmons – a potential top-10 pick – and Colorado State WR Preston Williams have been informed they won’t be invited to the scouting combine because they don't meet the criteria under the NFL's policy about past issues involving violence, sources say.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 31, 2019
The lack of a combine invite for Simmons is standard operating procedure since the NFL instituted a rule in 2016 that it would not invite prospects who had previously had issues with violence to the combine. (Bengals running back Joe Mixon, for example, was also not invited to the combine.)
"It is important for us to remain strongly committed to league values as we demonstrate to our fans, future players, coaches, general managers, and others who support our game that character matters," NFL Football Operations Executive Vice President Troy Vincent said in a memo to NFL teams.
Simmons was seen on video in 2016 striking a woman. Mississippi State allowed him to enroll in the school anyway, ultimately suspending him for just one game. Then-MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin said at the time, "We expect the structure and discipline Jeffery will be a part of in our football program to benefit him. Jeffery will be held accountable for his actions while at MSU, and there will be consequences for any future incidents."
Simmons then proceeded to dominate the SEC and became a potential top-10 draft pick. There have not been any reports of further incidents of violence he has committed. "Not everyone gets a second chance, but I am so grateful I did," Simmons wrote in the first line of a letter announcing that he would declare for the draft.
Our Ryan Wilson had Simmons going to the Falcons with the No. 14 pick in.
The NFL itself purports to take incidents of violence -- especially against women and children -- very seriously, but as we have seen time and again, the league and its teams are often willing to overlook them if it means acquiring a star-level talent.