2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jaelan Phillips

Jaelan Phillips Scouting Report

After a tumultuous collegiate career that included a transfer and my injuries, Phillips enters the NFL Draft with lots of questions. One of the biggest wildcards in the 2021 class, dive into Jaelan Phillips Scouting Report below.

School: Miami (Fl.) / Position: EDGE / Height: 6’5” / Weight: 266 / Class: Jr. 

Games Watched: Clemson (2020), NC State (2020), Virginia Tech (2020)

Pass Rush:

A truly great pass rusher at the college level. He does a fantastic job of winning with speed as well as power and has tremendous understanding of how to use his hands. His burst paired with his tremendous physical frame create an unstoppable combination for most offensive lineman. Does an incredible job of using his hands to create counters off of his first move. A player who really “gets it”, Phillips will be an impact pass rusher from day one. 

Run Defense:

A strong and physical run defender, Phillips gives a high level of effort in this area. His athleticism gives him the ability to take risks in this area that other players could not. Does a fantastic job of going inside of the tackle and using his quickness to make the tackle on outside run plays. Will not be a problem at the next level. 

Athleticism:

A fantastic athlete that was recruited out of high school as an off ball linebacker and made the transition to EDGE. Has fantastic speed and strength combined with his tall and long frame. He also moves incredibly well laterally and is a very sudden, explosive mover. 

Strength:

Generates great strength especially on his bull rush and anchor in the run game. When he wants to run through an offensive tackle he can do so easily. Is a chore to move in the run game when he chooses to anchor down. 

Burst:

Tremendous quickness off the ball. Does a fantastic job of timing his jump with the time of the nap and can surprise offensive lineman by creating contact so quickly. Despite this, never gets rang up for offsides penalties as he is still patient. His explosiveness as an athlete really shows up here. 

Bend:

Does a fantastic job of getting lateral to the ground and dipping underneath the tackles hands. When he gets his hands in a tackles chest and begins to round the corner, the rep is over for the tackle. Great ankle flexion allows him to be almost parallel to the ground at times. 

Hand Usage:

Is fantastic and very technically refined in this area. Truly understands the importance of getting his hands on the opposition before they can do it to him. Is able to knock the offensive lineman’s hands away quickly and efficiently as well. Has many pass rush moves at his disposal, all of which displaying excellent timing and power in his hands. Does a great job of stringing counters together as well.  

Motor:

Truly has a motor that doesn’t stop as he plays with lots of swagger and infectious energy. A confident player that always gives the maximum amount of effort possible. 

Speed:

Phenomenal speed for his size and you can tell it surprises his opponents. Gets off the ball and in the backfield in the blink of an eye. His burst off the line of scrimmage and sudden movements are a chore for any offensive tackle to deal with. 

Pursuit:

Never stops hunting QB’s in the backfield and does well chasing down runners on the backside as well. My only worry here is he at times will over pursue and take himself out of the play but this could easily be fixed if he plays more in control. Even if it doesn’t get fixed, playing aggressive is hardly the worst problem you can have. 

Assessment:  

I love Jaelan Phillips game. He is an incredible pass rusher who can win in a variety of ways and is still young in his development at the position. He has the perfect build and combines that with incredible athletic ability. While the obvious concern here is the amount of injuries sustained while in college as he took a temporary medical retirement while at UCLA. This, of course, will scare teams off and leaves his NFL projection clouded in uncertainty. From an on the field standpoint however, Jaelan Phillips is a top ten talent in the 2021 NFL Draft and should be talked about as such. If I was a team towards the back end of the first round, I would be salivating at the chance to add a player of his caliber to my roster. A special football player, who if he can overcome injuries, has all the tools to become an elite NFL player. 

Grade: Top Ten

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