By LUT WILLIAmS BCSP Editor
It was looking bleak but late in Saturday’s final rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears did it. They selected Tennessee State offensive lineman Lachavious Simmons with the 13th pick in the seventh and final round, the only black college player to go off the draft boards. He was the 227th overall pick.
Simmons, a 6-5, 315-pound Selma, Alabama native, played every position except center on the offensive line in his four years competing for the Tigers.
In 2019, he was a first team All-Ohio Valley Conference selection at tackle. He is expected to add to competition on the Bears’ line to protect quarterback Mitch Trubisky but is more likely to play guard.
Nicknamed “Pig,” Simmons told a Chicago area TV station he’s ready to work.
“I’m just ready to get to work against (Bears’ premier pass rusher) Khalil Mack and for him to make me a better player,” said Simmons, who described himself as a “farmboy” used to working hard. “I’m ready to get to the Windy City and start working.”
The Bears drafted him one pick after drafting Colorado offensive lineman Arlington Hambright.
Simmons did not work out at the NFL Combine nor play in the Senior Bowl, the primary showcases for players expected to go in the draft. He did participate in the College Gridiron Showcase and the Hula Bowl, where he was coached by former NFL head coach Rex Ryan.
He has great size and long arms and reportedly plays with a mean streak. He was described in one draft preview as “a mauler, who often takes opposing players to the ground.”
“I’m a bloody your nose type of guy on the field,” Simmons said. Simmons’ selection kept the HBCU ranks from being shut out for the first time since way back in 1950.
The single selection matched the worst output for HBCU players in the draft, matching South Carolina State defensive back Christian Thompson who was taken in the fourth round of the 2012 Draft by the Baltimore Ravens.
South Carolina State offensive tackle Alex Taylor – who performed at the Combine, played in the Senior Bowl and was projected as a lateround pick – was one of eight HBCU players signed to free agent contracts. Taylor inked with the Cleveland Browns (see STAT CORNER).
Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year Chris Rowland, a wide receiver/ kick returner out of Tennessee State, who led the FCS last season in receiving yards (1,437) and receiving yards per game (118.7) was signed by Atlanta.
Morgan State wide receiver/kick returner Manasseh Bailey was picked up by Philadelphia. He hauled in 54 passes for 996 yards and 10 TDs last season for the Bears, earning a third-team all-MEAC designation. He averaged 18.4 yards per catch and 83.0 yards per game. He also had one punt return TD.
Prairie View A&M had two of its players signed by Green Bay, quarterback Jalen Morton and tight end/fullback Jordan Jones.
Morton, an Arlington, Texas native, led the high-powered Panthers offense for the last three seasons passing for over 5,000 yards and rushing for over 1,500 yards while accounting for 64 touchdowns.
Jones was an explosive target in the Panthers’ passing offense, hauling in 28 grabs for 497 yards last season. The Frisco, Texas native hauled in 56 grabs for 963 yards and 11 touchdowns over his career, garnering all-conference honors in 2016 and 2019.
Former Norfolk State safety Bobby Price, a two-time all-MEAC performer, was picked up by the Detroit Lions. He played in 42 career games and started 37 times at safety. Price finished his career with 229 tackles, eight forloss, to go with seven interceptions, 23 pass breakups and four fumble recoveries.
The New York Giants agreed to terms with Hampton defensive back Christian Angulo. Angulo was the Defensive MVP of the Chicago Football Classic with five pass breakups, three tackles and one interception in the win over Howard. He finished fifth in FCS with 14 pass breakups with a season-high four tackles against Monmouth.
Angulo was also named to the Big South All-Academic team, along with being a second
team All-Big South Conference honoree.
Tennessee State offensive lineman Lachavious Simmons only black college player taken in 2020 NFL Draft