2020 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Jacob Phillips
Weight: 233 pounds
Phillips shows a technical knack in this trait. When faced up on a target, he will sink his hips and stay behind his pads. Not to mention, the rangy Phillips possesses a wide tackle radius, giving himself the opportunity to make the stop. While he does not present hammer-like pop in his hits, Phillips does stop the play with quicker hands and above-average grip. Yet, if the ball hangs or the receiver needs to reach, Phillips smothers the target immediately.
Like most LSU linebackers, Phillips shows the requisite twitch to immediately start at the next level. First, he shoots the gap versus the run, winning the leverage battle with much slower linemen, preventing them from attacking his chest. Next, on perimeter plays, Phillips excels with the redirect. If his first step is forward, the nimbleness and body control allow him to readjust on the fly. Additionally, he closes on the ball with an economy of motion. Occasionally, Phillips will show a correction step, getting his frame to move playside, if his drop isn’t deep enough.
Notice the depth of his drops. Phillips appears comfortable in space. The backpedal keeps a lower pad level and glide. When mirroring the route, Phillips does not get too far ahead or guess incorrectly. Plus, in zone, Phillips attacks the ballcarrier immediately, without overpursuit.
If you’re honest, you can see that Tahir Whitehead is a two-down linebacker, at best. Why? Teams complete 78.7 percent of their passes to his assigned targets, at this writing. Moreover, the four touchdowns surrendered and 12.9 yards per completion do not signal any coverage traits. On top of that, the lack of generated pressure on blitzes makes him rushing the passer and absolute waste. Looking around that linebacker group, all you see are primarily run stuffers and one marginal coverage linebacker in Nicholas Morrow.
In Phillips, the Raiders could see a Day Two pick with starter skills. With three third round draft picks, building that linebacker corps seems like the smart move. More importantly, when you look at Phillips, Austin Ekeler of the Chargers should jump to mind. The shifty receiving back tortures linebackers with agility and hands that convert plays into first down. With Phillips, the Raiders could match them up to negate the swing, flare, and wheel routes that Ekeler feasts on. Of all of the teams in the AFC, the Raiders sit far behind others in linebacker play.