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Paul Kuharsky: Titans first round pick Jeffery Simmons to be activated and begin practicing next week

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Finally, some very good news for the Titans.

Stephen F Austin v Mississippi State Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

IT’S HAPPENING.

Paul Kuharsky reported this morning that the Titans plan to activate first round defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons from the Non-Football Injury list next week.

Simmons will begin practicing next week and the team hopes for him to play against the Chargers in Week 7 in a limited capacity. The nice thing about bringing Simmons back from an ACL injury compared to the Titans bringing Jack Conklin back a year ago is that defensive linemen can be rotated in and out. I’d expect Simmons to see something like 10-20 snaps during his first game and the team can see where it goes from there based on how he looks.

Mike Vrabel hinted strongly that Simmons was far further along in his recovery than your normal ACL recovery just days before they chose to put him on the NFI list which restricted him from practicing or playing during the first six weeks of the season. The former Mississippi State star has been regularly praised for his hard work during the rehab process and this “ahead of schedule” drumbeat has been going for a while now.

This is obviously great news for an already very good Titans defense. Don’t expect Simmons to step in and dominate from the first snap, but getting him some reps now should give him a chance to be a real factor down the stretch for Dean Pees.

Many had Simmons graded as a top five pick — some even reportedly had him as the top overall player available — before he tore his ACL during training for the combine in February. If he plays up to his lofty potential, the Titans grabbing him at a discount at 19 and only missing out on six games of availability in return will look like a massive steal. Obviously, that’s a big if, but Simmons’ potential to be a game wrecker on the inside in the mold of Fletcher Cox is evident on tape.

Todd McShay had him as one of the top three players in the draft class:

“The injury is going to affect him, it may cost him the entire season. I still… I don’t care. I think he’s one of the best three football players in this draft class. I put him right behind (Quinnen) Williams and (Nick) Bosa. I really do. When you study his tape, he’s dominant, he is a difference maker.”

A front four of Harold Landry, Jurrell Casey, Jeffery Simmons, and Cameron Wake could keep some offensive coordinators up at night over the next few months. I can’t wait to see him get out there.