Drew Boylhart March 2008

Phillip Merling   DE   Clemson   

 

STRENGTHS

Phillip has the size and speed to play his position.  He has all the athletic talent you need and shows a good burst off the line to be a disruptive force in the opponents backfield.  Philip is just a babe in the woods (so to speak) as far as his experience at playing the DE position.  His stats have improved from last year to this year, which shows that he is learning and can improve with good coaching.  Philip needs to continue to improve at the next level and if he does, he should become a solid DE for the team that drafts him.     

 

NEEDS TO IMPROVE

I'm not convinced that Phillip has the work ethic that is needed to improve as much as is required for the next level.   Phillip gets frustrated very easily if he is up against good talent.  He does not fight his opponents, he does not play with intelligence against his opponents and I have seen no significant improvement in his physical game except for his stats from one year to the next.  He does one move off the line and that's it.  If he beats his man off the snap, then he will make a play.  If not, then he does not make a play.  But he does have excellent talent.     

 

TALENT BOARD ROUND 2 

I believe that Phillip realized about halfway through the year that he was going to go into the draft and turned the after burners on to collect as many sacks as he thought would impress the NFL teams and scouts.  Phillip is way behind in the techniques it takes to play his position at the college level, which makes him a big risk to draft too high in this draft.  I'm not convinced he has the maturity or work ethic needed to become the player his talent suggests that he can become. He has the measurables of a 1st round talent, but he does not have the techniques for me to rate him as a first round talent.  Add to that the football maturity issues and you have a kid that if taken too high in the draft will be a boom or bust player because his LTI is a least three to four years -- and that's IF he will work really hard.  I have been wrong before, but I'm convinced this kid is coming out too early and because of his athletic workouts, will be taken too high in this draft which will cause him to fail because the pressure to succeed will be too much for him to handle emotionally.