Phillips oozes talent but his medical history is a concern
When it comes to raw talent, Jaelan Phillips ranks up there with any of the defensive end prospects in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. The top defensive recruit coming out of high school, Phillips battled injuries and changed schools before finally putting it all together last season at Miami. While there's plenty of risk because of his injury history, Phillips' sheer talent could be enough for a team to take a chance on him in the first round.
(This profile is one of 230 featured in the Athlon Sports 2021 NFL Draft Guide. With in-depth scouting reports on the top prospects, position rankings, and more, no source will have you better prepared for draft day. Click here to get your copy.)
Jaelan Phillips Draft Profile
College: Miami (Fla.)
Once considered the best defensive recruit in the country, Phillips started his career at UCLA and suffered a string of injuries before he transferred to Miami and had a breakout year in 2020, reestablishing himself as one of the best pure talents in the college game. He explodes at the snap, grabbing an early advantage and showing outstanding flexibility running the arc, making it extremely difficult for blockers to recover. He has natural feel for setting up opponents, and he converts speed to power as well as anyone in this class. He’s capable of setting the edge, where his length allows him to shed blocks and make plays.
Medicals are a huge question with Phillips, who had wrist and lower-body injuries as well as multiple concussions; he nearly walked away from the sport at one point. When he was on the field at UCLA, he didn’t put together very impressive tape; he’s a one-year wonder.
Phillips is the one prospect who has the raw talent to reach a Chase Young/Nick Bosa level. But he’s a huge risk due to medicals and will be off at least a few draft boards.
Final Grade: 1st/2nd round
(Top photo courtesy of miamihurricanes.com)