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Dan Jamroz (Phinfever)
I like the player, I like the 2020 production and he was probably the best edge rusher in this draft class. I do not like the pick at 18. Phillips medical history makes this selection more of a short term move and unlikely to be foundational talent who scares defenses for years to come. There was also a lot of commentary about how his film at UCLA was mediocre. He would have been an excellent value in Round 2. I'm sure as I type this I'll be looking back one year from now and eating some serious crow. He is versatile in that he can put his hand in the dirt and drop back when needed. I'm sure Brian Flores loved that factor. I believe he will often some serious benefit in 2021 but would have preferred someone like Kwity Paye if Miami was dead set on getting a 1st Round Edge.
Pete Prisco (CBS Sportts)
If his medical stays clean, it's a good pick. They address a need that had to be filled. He's loaded with talent.
Bucky Brooks (NFL.COM)
The Miami standout is a rare mix as a five-star athlete with refined technical skills. Phillips is a pure pass rusher with an array of moves that should enable him to win early and often as a double-digit sack artist in the NFL.
Pro Football Focus
Jaelan Phillips boasts the best production of any edge rusher in this class, and if medical concerns weren’t a factor, he could have come off the board much earlier. He recorded 42 quarterback pressures on 542 snaps last season for Miami but has already had to walk away from the game once due to concussion issues. As a result, he has less than 1,000 career college snaps to his name. There are concerns, but Miami is playing with house money with all of their draft capital and can afford to take that kind of gamble.
Pick Grade: Very Good
Pro Football Network
Pair that Jaylen (Waddle) with another Jaelan, and the Dolphins are sipping cocktails on the beach. Jaelan Phillips is the most talented pass rusher in the class. His blend of athleticism and technique is unmatched. He’s a bonafide top-10 pick with a clean bill of health, making the Dolphins clear winners so far in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, his four concussions forced him to medically retire while at UCLA. Phillips has also broken his ankle and wrist in the past. I’ve had five medically recorded concussions and know first-hand the effects they can have on a person. Still, if he can avoid further damage, he has the potential to be a Pro Bowl player at the position.
Sports Illustrated (SI)
Based on tape alone, Phillips is arguably the best defender in the entire draft. He has fantastic film that backs up even better testing numbers. Phillips is still scratching the surface of what he can become as a player. He could be one of the blue-chip talents in the draft. The injury history is very concerning, though. Phillips was forced to medically retire at UCLA and has concussion issues. This is a very big risk here. The Dolphins needed a talented edge rusher to pair with Andrew Van Ginkel, and Phillips is exactly that. He has a lot of ‘wow’ moments on film. If he can stay healthy, this is the biggest steal in the draft. If not, the Dolphins will be kicking themselves for taking Phillips this high. The risk is there, but obviously, Miami felt it was worth it. -- JB
Mel Kiper (ESPN+)
Miami picked up the draft's best pure pass-rusher in Phillips, who gets to stay in Miami and get after quarterbacks under Brian Flores. Phillips might have been a top-10 pick had he not had a history of injuries from his time at UCLA. It's another solid first round for Miami.
The Dolphins went with the local guy here, and Phillips becomes the first defensive end off the board. A long, lean pass rusher with amazing moves — Phillips is the prototype for the modern position. He has pursuit speed to chase down agile quarterbacks, and hitting power to make an impact. There are some potential injury concerns, but make no mistake: If those concerns weren’t there he’d be a top 10 pick.
Phillips is a powerful edge defender with the heavy hands and body control to work through contact rushing the passer. He excelled when reduced to defensive tackle on obvious pass downs. He has the size and the strength to set the edge against the run. He played just one season at Miami after transferring from UCLA. -- Steve Muench
Miami was a press, single-high-safety-dominant defense that blitzed at the third-highest rate in the NFL and generated a lot of turnovers, but a lack of pass-rushers up front might have played a role in the blitz-heavy approach. Pairing Phillips with Emmanuel Ogbah, who had a career-high nine sacks last season, gives the Dolphins two disruptive pass-rushers and puts defensive coordinator Josh Boyer in better position to mix it up. -- Muench
Why they picked him:
The Dolphins' biggest defensive need was an edge rusher who can win one-and-one consistently while holding up against the run -- enter Phillips. Many scouts viewed Phillips as the draft's best edge rusher and a potential top-10 prospect in the draft if he didn't have medical issues. He played right down the road at the University of Miami and was the most productive pass rusher in college football last season.
Phillips was forced to medically retire at UCLA two years ago because of concussions and he's had a wrist injury in the past, too. Phillips says he had two concussions in college and he was forthright with teams in the pre-draft process. The Dolphins clearly were comfortable with his medical but his health is the biggest question mark for Phillips. -- Cameron Wolfe
Phillips was one of the top recruits in the country in 2017, racking up 21 sacks as a senior at Redlands East Valley High School in California. He stayed in-state for college at first, starting four of seven games played at UCLA as a freshman (21 tackles, seven for loss, with 3.5 sacks) but struggled through an ankle injury and suffered a concussion. Phillips had a tough 2018, first suffering a wrist injury when he was hit by a car while on his scooter and then suffering another concussion during the season. He played in just four games that year (20 tackles, one sack) before UCLA announced Phillips was retiring from football. He changed his mind and enrolled at Miami in 2019, sitting out that football season as a transfer. He showed why he was a top recruit during his single season on the field with the Hurricanes, earning second-team Associated Press All-American and second-team All-ACC nods by finishing sixth in the FBS with 15.5 tackles for loss and leading his squad with eight sacks among 45 total tackles (also intercepted a pass). Phillips decided not to play in Miami's bowl game. -- by Chad Reuter
- Draft Projection - Round 1-2
- NFL Comparison - Maxx Crosby
Edge defender with plus physical attributes and a motor that keeps him working and attacking throughout the rep. Philips might have the combination of length and athleticism that would allow teams to look at him with a hand on the ground or standing depending on his weight. Adding play strength will be important so that he can stack it up when setting the edge as a run defender in the league. He's a slippery-limbed pass rusher with good first-step quickness, which bodes well for his future rush success if he gets better with his hands and learns a go-to counter. He has a shot at becoming a solid future starter along the edge if his medicals pan out.
- Former five-star recruit with high-impact physical attributes.
- Has shown flexibility with weight he can carry.
- Heated up over final four games with 11 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.
- Accelerates into the edge.
- Adjusts rush track quickly according to the pass set.
- Flexible upper body to help flip over the punch at top of the rush.
- Gets skinny to shoot the B-gap and harass the backfield.
- Closing burst to the quarterback is not in doubt.
- Plays hard and keeps coming from snap to snap.
- Very aware as run defender.
- Sees mesh point clearly on zone reads and recognizes lane choice by runner.
- Length to handle edge-setting.
- Missed time due to ankle and wrist injuries and concussions.
- Pad level rises too tall off the snap.
- Below-average core strength for head-to-head battles against tackles.
- Gets bounced off his base during redirect blocks.
- Needs better command with his hands as a rusher.
- Fails to stack moves to stay ahead of pass blockers.
- Inside counter needs to be unlocked.
JAELAN PHILLIPS | Miami | DE | #15 | rJr | 6042 | 266 | Redlands, CA | Redlands East Valley | 05.28.99 (21)
A once-prized five-star recruit at UCLA, concussions and inconsistencies threatened the success of Phillips' career. He opted to finish his career at the Miami, rejuvenating the hype that once surrounded him. He was able to put together a dynamic season in 2020, when his athletic gifts jumped off the film. Phillips is what is wanted from the ideal defensive end prospect, combining big-time talent with a long and well-proportioned frame. He is a pure speed rusher who has some insane explosiveness around the outside track for a man his size. For the most part, Phillips does a nice job setting the edge in the run game, using his length to his advantage. Lacking a lot of game experience, Phillips is still raw technically and is just starting to scratch the surface of how good he can be. He is a high-upside pass rusher whose best football is firmly in front of him. As he continues to get stronger, he has the opportunity to add a power profile to match his superb athleticism. Once he is able to put it all together, we could be talking about a high-volume sack artist.
Raised outside of Los Angeles, California. Five-star recruit according to 247Sports. Major is unknown. Academic standout. Started four of seven games played as a freshman. Started two of four games played as a sophomore. Transferred from UCLA to Miami and redshirted in 2019. Started 10 games for the Hurricanes in 2020. He enjoys singing and writing poetry. Grandfather is a world-renowned pianist and conductor and the dean of music at Lynn University. Plays many instruments and is a classically trained pianist. Had his first concussion when he was 10-years-old. Dealt with an ankle injury and multiple concussions in 2017. Was hit by a car while on his moped and broke his wrist
(January, 2018), which required multiple surgeries including the removal of three bones (April, 2018). Suffered another concussion and decided to medically retire from football (2018). Main passion in life is music. Wants to become a rapper/producer when football is over.
Jaelan Phillips was regarded as the No. 1 overall recruit by the 247Sports Composite coming out of Redlands East Valley High School. In his junior and senior season, Phillips combined for 218 tackles and 30.5 sacks and two interceptions. The five-star defensive end received 20 offers, according to 247Sports, before selecting the in-state UCLA Bruins over the likes of Alabama and others.
Super smooth and athletic quarterback-chaser who has all the tools. Phillips wins with quickness, hand usage and elite movement skills. He’s a former number-one overall recruit but a major medical red flag having retired from football at UCLA after multiple injuries.
There is an awful lot to like about Phillips, but his final grade will depend on how teams view his medical file. On the field, there’s plenty to work with and he might be the best all-round edge talent in the draft because he has everything – great frame with room to grow physically, he’s long, super twitchy, good hands, good feet, changes direction quickly, closes quickly on the ball-carrier. And he’s not close to the finished article. As a rusher, he gets off the snap quickly and attacks the outside hand of the tackle. He’s adept at pushing the hands away and then sinking his hips, bending and flattening before driving to the QB, all in one movement. He does an excellent job of working his inside arm under the outside arm of his opponent and driving up with it and using it to propel him to the passer. But he’s not just a one-trick pony because he gets sacks by various means; he has counter moves, he can bull-rush, he can step outside and force the tackle to overstep, then cut inside and drill the QB, and he even has a good spin move in his armoury. He’s also got good rip-and-swim moves and really good hand usage and he’s strong enough to work tackles back into their passers with one arm. He rushes standing up, with his hand in the ground, and even from an OLB position in a 3-4 front. What you like about him is that he affects the play in ways that are hard to countenance. In the run game, he’s not as advanced as Kwity Paye in terms of how he plays the run, but he has some mettle in those hands, converts speed to power and can jolt his opponent, which gives him space and allows him to use his eyes to locate the ball and either set the edge or make the play. There are times where he is too impatient and bites upfield too quickly, allowing the back in underneath him. He’s also troubled by pulling guards who can get into him before he can affect the play because he doesn’t play flat enough. As the tackle blocks down, he leaves too much space from his angle of attack. Phillips is a really good player who, if he can stay healthy, should be an excellent pro. Based on the evidence it’s a big if.
Played in only 11 games at UCLA before he retired on medical grounds. Has had three concussions and a fourth ‘minor incident’ to his head. Also had two badly sprained ankles, and a bike crash where he had to have two operations on a mangled wrist. Retired in December 2018, then entered the transfer portal and signed with Miami. Was the number-one overall recruit in the nation in 2017. Has said that music is his first love over football.
- DEFENSIVE END
- Grade: 4.12
- Projected Round: 1st-2nd
- School: Miami (FL)
- Year: Junior
A dominant high school defensive end who earned first-team All-USA honors in 2016, Ja-elan Phillips was a five-star recruit. Family con-nections to UCLA saw him begin his career for the Bruins, where he got off to an explosive start as a freshman.
However, a combination of football injuries and a moped crash resulted in him retiring from football in 2018.
He returned to the field for Miami in 2020, earning second-team All-American honors with 15.5 tackles for loss and 8 sacks.
xplosive edge rusher who took his game to the next level and is coming off a sensational season. Breaks down well, plays with outstand-ing pad level, and gets leverage on opponents.
Fluid moving in every direction and displays a tremendous first step off the snap. Flows well laterally and gets down the line of scrimmage to make plays in space.
Fundamentally sound, displays solid technique with his hands, and covers a good amount of area on the field. Easily changes direction, bends off the edge, and shows great speed up the field.
Agile, nicely redirects and plays tough, in-stinctive football. Does more than just rush up the field and get after the passer and gives effort defending the run. Chases downfield to make plays if necessary.
Lacks bulk and is easily controlled at the point by a single blocker. Not a stout tack-ler. Struggled with minor injuries and con-cussions in the past.
Phillips was given the opportunity to step into the starting lineup after Gregory Rousseau opt-ed out of the season, and he made the most of his chance. He's a terrific athlete with natural pass-rushing skills as well as growth potential. If Phillips passes medical checks and stays healthy, he offers great upside and should only improve as he physically matures and adds bulk and strength to his frame.
PFN's BEST NFL FITS:
Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants
Jaelan Phillips brings very long arms and a long, thick frame to the edge position. He is solidly muscular throughout his build, but looks like he could potentially add a little more muscle to his upper body. Phillips has an extremely lengthy injury history, with a serious history of concussions. He nearly retired from football prior to the 2020 season as a result.
Phillips has good play recognition and the ability to react quickly to his run/pass reads. He does not often play with good gap integrity, flying up field with no concern for his gap responsibility. Teams schemed at him on counters because of this, and he failed to adjust. Phillips has flashes of great effort, but also will take plays off. His flashes of toughness, like his motor, are inconsistent.
This player has an explosive get off and initial burst to get up field. He shows outstanding suddenness and excellent short area quickness to knife into gaps, particularly for his size. He is very fast in pursuit, making him a menacing backside run defender. Phillips is not a very under control player, and struggles to be patient while pursuing. He shows good proactive play strength and good ability to generate torque with his lower half and has solid bend and hip flexibility to corner.
Phillips is a natural pass rusher with a good bag of tricks that he can use. He has strong and quick hands on his pass rush moves, and shows good accuracy as well. Phillips can show some predictability in his pass rush, however, trying to counter to the inside consistently. This player is stout at the POA and has the strength and adequate bend to win the leverage battle and hold the edge. He is a natural block shedder whose length and strength allow him to shed smoothly. His long arms, wide frame and aggressiveness make him a menacing tackler.
Jaelan Phillips is an outstanding athlete with the length and pass rush skills to be an immediate pass rushing threat. He projects best as a 4-3 defensive end who can play as the strong side or weak side, though he could be a capable 3-4 rush LB as well. Phillips’ inconsistent motor may hold him back, but the main thing that will keep him from his high potential is his horrid injury history. Chip Kelly recommended that he retire after last season, and one more concussion could be the end of his career. This is a risky, high-upside prospect that some teams will not be willing to touch.