Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons used social media Wednesday to reveal he visited the Browns.
Simmons provided the tip by posting a brief Instagram video late Wednesday morning of a practice field and an adjacent entryway at Browns headquarters in Berea. In another Instagram video published about five hours earlier, Simmons posed in a suit and tagged Cleveland as his location.
Last week at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix, General Manager John Dorsey vowed to meet Simmons before the April 25-27 draft "one way or another." Dorsey declined to say whether the meeting would come in the form of a pre-draft visit, but that is what happened. In addition to holding a workout for local prospects, each NFL team is allowed to host a maximum of 30 nonlocal players for visits in the buildup to the draft.
During Mississippi State's pro day last week, Simmons told NFL Network the Browns were among the teams he would rendezvous with during meetings surrounding the pro day.
Although many draft analysts consider Simmons a top-five pick, he might slide out of the first round because he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while training in February and has off-field baggage in his past. The Browns don't have a first-round selection after sending the 17th overall choice to the New York Giants last month as part of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade and aren't scheduled to go on the clock until the second round (No. 49 overall).
Simmons is a name to watch there or in a trade-up scenario.
This is one reason Simmons might fall more in the draft than his talent suggests he should: As a senior in high school, he was caught on video repeatedly punching a woman while stepping into a fight between her and his sister.
He pleaded no contest to a simple assault charge and was found guilty of malicious mischief. Mississippi State suspended him for one game. The NFL didn't invite him to the scouting combine because of the incident.
"It's a mistake I made back in high school. I regret it up until this day," Simmons told reporters last week at Mississippi State's pro day. "But I've been honest about the situation. I tell [NFL teams] what happened, about the situation and how I grew from it."
Dorsey defended Simmons last week when asked if the Browns could take on Simmons and controversial running back Kareem Hunt at the same time. The Browns signed Hunt on Feb. 11 despite him being caught on security footage shoving and kicking a woman last year in downtown Cleveland.
"I think from your standpoint, what you should do is you should talk to the coaches and the support system at Starkville, Mississippi State, and just see what kind of man that guy really is," Dorsey said of Simmons.
Because of Simmons' recent knee surgery, he probably won't play in 2019. Last month, the Browns signed three-technique defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, so they would be able to ease Simmons back if Dorsey were to pick him.
Asked if Richardson's presence would give the Browns a good setup to pick Simmons despite his injury, Dorsey said, "We’re still doing our research with regards to some other stuff, but I know on the film when you watch [Simmons] play the game of football, he’s a really good football player — really good."
Simmons, 6-foot-4 and about 300 pounds, started 28 of his 38 collegiate games and had 163 tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks, seven pass breakups, five forced fumbles, three blocked kicks and two defensive touchdowns. As a junior last season, he started 12 of 13 games and had 63 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and four pass breakups.
Tulane cornerback Donnie Lewis Jr. also used social media Wednesday to show he visited the Browns. He posted Instagram videos from the team's field house and locker room.
Ohio State defensive tackle Dre'Mont Jones said last month at Buckeyes pro day he has a visit scheduled with the Browns, according to elevenwarriors.com. Jones would be eligible to attend the Browns' workout for local prospects not only because he went to Ohio State but also because he's from Cleveland and graduated from St. Ignatius High School.
Still, Simmons could be the biggest name to surface at Browns headquarters for a pre-draft visit. Last week, Simmons said he had visits scheduled with 11 teams, beginning Monday and ending April 17.
"With the rare exception of the quarterback class last year, very rarely will I bring in a lot of first-round players because we’ve already spent a lot of time on trying to figure out who those guys are," Dorsey said. "I think you have to go deeper into the draft to figure out the guys who may be there day two, day three."
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his Browns coverage at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByNateUlrich and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.