2021 Raiders Draft Prospect
Name: Jaelan Phillips
Weight: 265 pounds
Whether as a stand-up or with a hand in the dirt, the prospect will play on Sundays with a decent yet evolving rush repertoire. The Miami prospect will convert speed to power. Looking deeper than that, you will see small technical fixes that will help this move. One technique that the prospect excels at: the swim. Phillips’ long reach accentuates this move, granting him separation on his wave into the backfield. Versus tight ends, Phillips could implement a push-pull to add to the array.
Possessing longer limbs hurts Phillips in this aspect. While establishing a bull rush, those levers keep him clean, once locked on, getting the hands in to disengage occasionally appears as a problem.
Although he hovers in the 260-pound range, Phillips’ lateral movement will win 1v1. His feet seel a wide rush, forcing the blocker to slide and overcommit. Meanwhile, his inside foot quickly redirects to the inside void created. Many tackles can’t correct the same way.
More of a swarm tackler, Phillips must refine that technique. Enveloping smaller backs works in college, but he will bounce off in the NFL. Instead, implement his quickness to secure the stop. Luckily, this fix occurs with sound coaching. A part of that is working on a strip-sack chop. With his speed and ability to close, this trait must be improved immediately.
Despite his twitched-up athletic profile, Phillips actually shows patience in approaching. He breaks down well on perimeter plays. In addition, his feel for playing the RPO, forcing the quarterback to not delay in his choice. At the next level, the Miami end must shed quicker.
For all of his immense potential, Phillips’ vast injury history should raise concerns. In 2018, the former UCLA defender retired, citing injuries. Ankle problems and multiple concussions wore on the prospect, to the point of walking away from the game. Granted, ankle issues should not scare off teams. Yet, the concussions mounted early in his career. To his credit, Phillips returned to the field after a year off. However, how will this affect his draft status?
While the Raiders claim their defensive end rotation looks crowded, it still lacks athleticism. Everyone not named Maxx Crosby is a limited player that reached their athletic ceiling. Granted Nassib and Ferrell possess airport impressive frames, the production doesn’t match. Meanwhile, Phillips presents a valid Day Two option. On top of that, Gus Bradley will actually scheme with player strength’s in mind, instead of vice versa. Phillips easily slides into an early rotational role. If the Raiders continue kicking Ferrell inside, the prospect will occupy one of the end spots. With the AFC West possibly adding another top-level passer, the need to rush with four becomes of utmost importance. Phillips brings value, athleticism, and a solid base to improve. Defense wins championships.