Jaelan Phillips is the best pass rusher in the draft and maybe even deserves some recognition as a top 15 player. The injury concerns with Phillips are absolutely valid, but he was also a better prospect coming out of high school than Chase Young and is one of the most natural pass rushers we’ve seen in the last five years. He is an all around complete defensive end and can play from a stand up position or with a hand in the dirt and can set a hard edge from both techniques. His versatility allows him to rush from the edge or the interior and he shows elite athleticism that will be one of his greatest assets in the NFL.
College: Miami (2020), UCLA (2017-2018)
Position: 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB
Weight: 266 lbs
2020 Stats: 10 games played/45 TOTAL/21 SOLO/15.5 TFL/8 Sacks
1. Jaelan Phillips has some great moves off the edge. He shows great hand moves and footwork and is a smooth operator from the defensive end spot. He played in a 4-3 defense at Miami and showed he can manipulate the edge and even bend and dip in that thick 6’5″ frame. He has an extensive pass rushing repertoire and that helps him switch up his plans against opposing tackles.
2. For someone with a frame the size of Jaelan Phillips’, he shows above average athleticism. He ran a blazing 4.56 forty yard dash at his pro day which is faster than Chase Young, Joey Bosa, Danielle Hunter, and Frank Clark for some comparison. Phillips has shown that he can close on opposing ball carriers around the edge and he has a quick pursuit to the quarterback once on the outside hip of a tackle.
3. Phillips has an un-dying motor and will never give up on a play. Even when he is knocked down, he’ll pop right back up and will get after the ball carrier. His long speed helps him in his pursuit and he looks like his life depends on logging a tackle on every play. He is exactly what you want in an edge defender in that regard.
1. Obviously Jaelan Phillips has an extensive injury history. He has suffered from multiple concussions throughout his football career and it even forced him to medically retire from UCLA after the 2018 season. He also suffered from a moped accident and suffered severe wrist injuries as a result. The real concerns are the concussions as each one makes it easier to suffer from another one. His injuries are definitely reason for concern and some teams might even take him off their board because of it, but the truth is that football is a sport where every single play could potentially end someone’s career. The risk is only a little bit higher due to his concussions but every play is a potential career ender and shouldn’t keep teams from investing in a player of his caliber.
2. The small sample size of elite play is a bit of a concern. He has played great at Miami but he has only capitalized on his potential for ten games. This might make some teams a little cautious and it will make others drool over what he can do with more coaching. The small sample size shouldn’t scare off to many people but it is a valid concern.
Jaelan Phillips is an incredible run defender and a better pass rusher. He has the technique, athleticism, and motor to produce in any scheme in the NFL. He is incredibly talented and is a player poised for a 10+ sack season year after year. Maybe injury is a fear factor and rightfully so, but it can’t keep teams from investing valuable capital into a player of his elite caliber. He has potential to be one of the best edge rushers in the league and barring injury he can become a legend in the NFL. Don’t miss out on a player of his potential because of fear of injury when that is a part of the sport.
Draft Projection: First Round
Pro Comparison: Cameron Jordan