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Jaelan Phillips NFL Draft 2021: Scouting Report for Miami Dolphins Edge

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor IApril 30, 2021

Virginia Tech quarterback Hendon Hooker, center, is tackled by Miami defenders, Sam Brooks, Jr., right, and Jaelan Phillips, left, during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, in Blacksburg, Va. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP, Pool)
Matt Gentry/Associated Press


HEIGHT:
 6'5 ½"

WEIGHT: 260


POSITIVES

—Has rare length, in the mold of Chandler Jones.

—Hand placement is advanced for a college pass-rusher.

—Understands how to use a long arm to give himself an even bigger reach and drive linemen back inside with his inside arm.

—Beyond his outside pass-rushing, he understands how to use an inside swim move as a counter.

—Quality tackler, which should help him as a 3-4 outside linebacker prospect.

—Has strong, heavy hands that help him in the run game.

   

NEGATIVES

—Explosion is not a positive to his game, either in a two-point or three-point stance.

—His foot speed is not above average for a pass-rushing prospect in the top-100.

—If he does play 3-4 outside linebacker, he is not going to bring much more to the table than as a spot-dropper in coverage.

—Length can work against him, as he plays too high at times.

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2020 STATISTICS

45 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 1 interception, 3 pass deflections

   

NOTES

—A consensus five-star California prep, Phillips originally enrolled at UCLA, where he played 10 games before medically retiring in 2018 and then later transferred to Miami.

—At UCLA, a moped accident caused injuries to both ankles and a wrist, on top of three reported concussions.

   

OVERALL

Two years ago, it looked like Jaelan Phillips’ once promising football career was over. That will weigh on the minds of whoever selects him on draft day, potentially causing him to fall lower than where his talent should be selected. On the field, in his one real season of full playing time, Phillips dominated for the Miami Hurricanes behind his rare length and strong hands, a path to success that has produced Pro Bowlers like Chandler Jones. His overall athleticism is not average for an NFL starting pass-rusher in 2021, though, meaning Phillips must constantly develop his game as a technician. Should the former five-star recruit stay healthy, his pass-rushing prowess will not come from speed, but savvy moves like euro-step pass-rushing and basing his game off of his length. That is not the easiest way to win on the edge in the NFL, but few prospects have been better suited to succeed with that game plan—and few have been forced into that game plan based on their athleticism.

   

GRADE: 7.7 (2nd Round)

OVERALL RANK26/300

POSITION RANK: EDGE2

PRO COMPARISON: (Syracuse) Chandler Jones

    

Written by B/R NFL Scout Justis Mosqueda