CFF Player Profile: Jordan Phillips, DI
So far during the CFF Player profiles we have mainly reviewed the top prospects at their respective positions. However, with Jordan Phillips the projections are all over the board from the end of the first round to the middle of the third round. Physically he comes in at a hair under 330 pounds and 6-foot-5 with monster long arms. He also has great natural strength and a good first step when he uses it, all the measurables for a top player are there. Phillips does play a little high at points but he is able to make up for it with his strength.
When watching Jordan Phillips it’s more than what he did for Oklahoma, but more what he can become. Over his college career Phillips only started 17 games due to a season-ending back injury in 2013. It is very evident in Phillips’ play that he is still a raw player that needs to develop a plan on how to take on blockers. However, where he succeeds is that he is naturally powerful and can stand up double team blocks and often prevents the center climbing to the second level.
Its not all about his strength, though, as he also has good quickness which enables him to split combo blocks when he chooses to. The problem is he often doesn’t want to try and beat combo blocks and is more than happy just to hold his ground and keep the linebackers clean. While Phillips looks very good playing double team blocks, he does struggle against reach blocks where the center can get into position. Phillips then looks to be waiting for a double team to arrive instead of causing the center issues and closing the A-gap.
As a pass rusher, Phillips is still very raw and doesn’t have a great plan on how exactly to rush. Instead, he wants to use his power to try and bullrush his blocker. Phillips only had a 5.1 Pass Rushing Productivity mark in 2014 as a result. That was brought down by the lack of pressure he recorded on first and second down (eight total pressures). On third down he posted a PRP of 10.5, which was in the Top 20 for all interior defensive lineman with at least 50 pass rushes on third down. The huge difference between first and second down vs. third down is how he is rushing. As a true nose tackle, his first responsibility is to play the run, but on third down he is able to play up field and actually use his athleticism to rush the passer.
With all the positives Phillips brings to his game that is the platform for where he can improve. Everything he is able to do comes naturally to him. What many people consider to be “laziness” is actually attributable to rawness. Phillips still doesn’t use his hands as well as he should, which leads to him not shedding when he has the opportunity to make plays on the ball-carrier. This should not be an issue that plagues him through his career as he the ability to beat blocks he just needs to learn to be more consistent and learn when to take them on and when to shed them.
If Phillips doesn’t develop much more, the question then becomes what is he and what is that worth? Entering the NFL at his current level Phillips would be the prototypical two-down nose tackle, which will offer a little more on pass downs than most players. This is what his role looks like for at least the first year as he learns to actually play in the NFL.
The best attributes that Phillips will bring to the whatever team that drafts him, is his natural ability to play against the run and with the right coaching staff the ceiling is very high. He can either be a two-gapping zero-technique or even play as a one-gapping one-tech, which will allow for his quickness and strength to be an asset. If a one-gapping team does draft him it might cover up some of his weakness, as it should stop him looking to find double teams and become a nuisance for opposing offensive lines.
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