Philip (Scooby) Wright   LB   Arizona

Philip is the type of linebacker whose instincts, burst to the play and football intelligence allow him play faster than he will time. He’s a football player -- the type others on the team respect because of the effort he gives on every play. The coaches like him on the field because he is an extension of them and makes the players around him better. Philip reacts quickly and decisively to the play in front of him. He doesn’t take a lot of false steps, understands angles and because he is quick to attack the line of scrimmage, he seems to always gain leverage on bigger players shocking them and shedding them to make tackles between the hash marks. Philip is a pure middle or inside linebacker and if he is in a defensive system that keeps those big offensive linemen off him and allows him to flow freely to the play, he will become a core player, a fan favorite and an impact player for the team that selects him in this draft.

Philip will test in the combine and workouts slow because of a knee injury that some players would have left school and taken the whole year off but not Philip, he pushed himself and got back on the field and played anyway. Most think that he is a 2-down linebacker, but for me I‘d keep him on the field and on passing downs have him set up off the line of scrimmage deeper because when the play is in front of him he is like a stick of dynamite going off and propelling his body forward and making a head up, wrap up, squeeze and drive tackle.

To me, taking a player like Philip off the field on a third down is like asking your defensive coordinator to stop calling plays on third down…doesn’t make much sense, does it? Philip will run your defense for you on the field and will make plays. No matter how a player performs in a workout if he gets on the field and shows me that he is a leader and a playmaker. If he does that, then that’s all I need to see because then I know he plays faster than he times. There are a few different linebackers who Philip reminds me of including London Fletcher who played for 15 years, Chris Spielman who played for 10 years and Zack Thomas who played for 13 years; these are the three that come to mind right away. All of them were considered at workout time to be undersized and slow and yet all were starting linebackers for excellent defenses. It’s true that the game has changed and the players are bigger and faster but remember this, when you hit one of those bigger, faster players with a tackle that puts them on their backs and knocks the snot out of them, all of a sudden the athletic talent of a bigger, faster player seems to equalize and that is exactly what Philip can do -- knock the snot out of you with a legal form tackle. I mean think about it, you hit one of those big tight ends going down the seam in the ribs once or twice and guess what happens in the 4th quarter? That’s right; that bigger, faster athlete is more worried about you and his sore ribs than catching the ball. If you need a coach on the field for your defense I suggest you look hard at drafting Philip because the truth is that’s what’s missing on most bad defenses in the NFL, a coach on the field who can knock the snot out of a player using a legal head up, wrap up, squeeze and drive tackle.

Drew Boylhart  APR.2016