Phillip is the type of player who plays bigger than his size because of his
unusually long arms for his size. He is naturally strong and his
techniques at the point of attack are excellent. He has very good speed
and change of direction skill, which makes it easy for him to be used as a
blitzing linebacker to sack the quarterback or flush him out of the pocket and
into his teammatesí waiting arms. He was used a lot in coverage for his
college team taking on the slot receivers of just about any size. He shows
excellent leadership skills. Phillip has the athletic talent to play
linebacker for all three downs. In fact, on third downs, if a team wants
to play a 4-2-5 defense, Phillip has the skills to stay on the field as one of
the linebackers in that style of defense. Phillip is a head up, wrap up,
squeeze and drive tackler and he is impressive in his ability to play the run.
Phillip is smart and uses his long arms (locked out) to play with his bigger
opponent on sweeps until he sees the right time to shed and make a tackle or
turn the play into the inside. Itís perfect technique, and because of his
long arms and natural strength, he is able to stop sweeps and split double teams
on screen plays in the open field effortlessly. Phillip seems to have
naturally strong hands that make it easy to handle bigger players when he is
shedding them to make a tackle. He is an excellent weakside linebacker
and, because of his athletic talent and football intelligence, I believe he
could play more than one linebacker position if needed.
Phillipís impact position at the next level is a weakside linebacker.
This may mean that teams that do not value that position as highly as
other positions will not rate Phillip as high as I do. Also, Phillip just
makes the size/speed ratio that most teams go by in evaluating linebackers for
the next level, which may also affect where some teams will rate him for the
next level. There is no problem with his play; there is plenty of tape on
him, but teams will be cautious because of his size and the quality of
competition that Phillip has played against.
Phillip reminds me of Jon Beason, LB Panthers -- only he is faster and
stronger (see original profile for Jon Beason in THR Archives to compare to
Phillip is a football player. There is no other way to say it. When
Jon Beason came out and was selected in the 1st round, he did a hell
of a job until injuries and moving him around appeared to impact his play.
Phillip is further ahead in athletic talent, strength and football intelligence
than Jon was when he was drafted; therefore, I know he can play more than one
linebacker position. That being said, itís best to think of Phillip as an
OLB to keep him free of traffic and let him make plays on the outside.
Understand also that the quality of competition that Jon Beason played against,
in comparison to the quality of play Phillip has played against, will make a
difference in how teams evaluate Phillip. Nevertheless, Phillip has
excellent instincts and has no problem taking on bigger guards and tackles,
running sweeps and screens because he understands how to use his size and
athleticism to his advantage. As I said, Phillip is a football player and
selecting him in any round is adding a talented starting player to your team.
Isn't that what the draft is all about?
Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart