Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft
2nd Round, Pick 42
Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami (FL)
Quite a few good players were available at this spot but none felt quite right compared to Phillips. With the team back to a predominantly 1-gapping 4-3 defense, Phillips will likely be viewed highly as a prospect by the team. This is assuming, of course, his medical information turns out okay.
In a very cliche way, death, taxes, and the Cowboys get a badly injury-prone defender in the second round. The sad thing is, like the other players that have found themselves in this position, Phillips is also a good football player.
The 6-foot-5, 255-pound defensive end was the number three recruit in his high school recruiting class and committed to UCLA. Two injury-plagued years later, he medically retired before realizing he still wanted to be apart of the game as much as the game wanted to be with him. (Insert Link)
In his lone year at the University of Miami, Phillips racked up 45 total tackles, 21 solo tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, three pass deflections, and one interception. The productive final year put a stamp on what was an otherwise turbulent college career.
Phillips displays good tenacity and motor, so much so that his emotions caused him to get ejected against Florida State. He didn’t commit an illegal hit; he got two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for playing a little too passionately. You, quite literally, love to see it.
The senior displays good athletic ability with good explosiveness, good foot speed, and good lower body and grip strength that is great for all different pass rush plans. Need him to win with speed and bend? He can do that. Need him to bull rush the offensive tackle and collapse the pocket? Easy! Need him to throw a club-swim move off a euro step move? He’s done it before and can probably do it again.
Winning with power isn’t necessarily in his game but this doesn’t mean he plays weak. He is a good run defender constantly displaying the ability to leverage gaps by driving linemen towards the running back with his good leg strength. He does struggle to disengage from linemen in order to make a tackle, but he does enough work to allow second-level defenders to clean up the job he started.
If the medical tests over the next three months work in his favor, Phillips could easily slide into the first round. But until then, I’ll gladly take him in the second with the Cowboys’ second pick in the draft.