Drew Boylhart December 2007
Philip Wheeler   LB   Georgia Tech

STRENGTHS

Philip has good size and is that speed type of LB with which certain teams are falling in love.  He is a decent tackler and can cover sideline to sideline in pass defense.  Philip can also cover the middle of the field in a two-deep zone defensive scheme without too many problems.  Philip also does a very good job rushing the passer and causing problems in the blocking scheme of offensive lines when he is used to blitz the QB.  Philip has a lot of speed and a great burst to go along with excellent athletic talent.  In the right system, he will be an impact player for the team that drafts him. 

NEEDS TO IMPROVE

Philip needs to wrap up better.  For the next level, he should be moved to the WLB position to impact.  He doesnít show the overall leadership skills that are needed for the MLB position.  He takes a lot of false steps right now and this will kill him at the next level.  Iím not convinced he really understands the correct angles to take when defending against the run at the MLB position.  The truth is, his impact position for the next level is at WLB.  Iím not convinced he is stout enough or has the instincts to play MLB. 

TALENT BOARD ROUND 1

Philip is not a ďmeet the blocker in the hole, shed and make the tackleĒ type of LB and he never will be.  He is a speed LB that needs the big bodies in front of him so that he can shoot the gap and make the tackle.  Right now, Philip looks a little confused on the field.  I believe itís because he has too many things to think about and it has affected his overall play.  Draft him for the WLB position and you should have a damn good player.  He will struggle defending against the run until he learns better techniques, but when he does learn, he should be an excellent WLB.  Although Philip still has a lot to learn, I think his speed and workout numbers will move him into the first round before it is all said and done.  Late in the first round or as an early second round pick would be a good spot for this kid to be drafted.  The team that drafts him can use him as an extra pass rusher and in pass defense until he gets his feet wet.  Philip should be pretty impressive in his first year if he is used like that.  Throw him on the field as a starter right away and it will be a long learning process for him to become an all around solid LB.  Use him in the middle in any kind of Defensive scheme other than a two deep zone scheme and Philip will struggle big time.  He reminds me a lot of Jonathan Vilma (LB New Jersey Jets).  Anyone who follows the Jets knows of the problems Vilma has had in a different defense the last few years as compared to his impact rookie year. So, itís that simple!  Right scheme, Philip impacts.  Wrong scheme, Philip struggles to impact ever.