May 01, 2015

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) The Miami Dolphins drafted a potential protege for Ndamukong Suh.

And he makes the 305-pound Suh look small.

In a surprise selection, Miami took 6-foot-5, 330-pound Oklahoma nose tackle Jordan Phillips in the second round Friday.

Phillips will likely be mentored by Suh, the All-Pro defensive tackle who signed a $114 million, six-year contract with Miami in March.

''It's a great opportunity,'' Phillips said. ''I'm really looking forward to getting to know him and get around him and see how the vets work. The whole d-line, I think we're going to be pretty dominant. I can't wait to meet everybody.''

The choice of Phillips was unexpected because the Dolphins had more pressing needs at cornerback, linebacker and guard. Phillips was regarded as an underachiever at Oklahoma, where he developed a reputation as an ineffective pass rusher who gave an inconsistent effort.

He heard such criticism during the screening process for the draft.

''That came up a lot,'' Phillips said. ''I think it was just the system I was in. You'll see a lot more out of me coming up soon.''

Phillips played in a 3-4 scheme at Oklahoma, while the Dolphins use a 4-3. They're intrigued by his untapped potential.

''You see the talent. You see the flashes,'' general manager Dennis Hickey said. ''Our job is to get him to do it on a consistent basis.''

Addressing other areas of need must wait until Saturday, because the Dolphins have only two of the first 113 picks. They took Louisville receiver DeVante Parker with the 14th overall choice Thursday.

Before drafting Phillips, Miami did add a pair of fifth-round selections by trading down five picks to No. 52 overall. They used that pick on Phillips and gave the Eagles the 47th overall pick.

Phillips started only 17 games in four years at Oklahoma, including 13 last year. He missed most of the 2013 season and required season-ending back surgery.

Athletic for his size, Phillips can do back flips, and in high school he caught four touchdown passes and averaged 23.5 yards on 17 receptions.

''I felt like I was the best pocket presence in this draft as an interior defensive lineman,'' Phillips said. ''I'm a great run stuffer.''

The front four might now be the Dolphins' biggest strength. Among those returning are ends Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon, and tackle Earl Mitchell. Miami lost Jared Odrick and Randy Starks in free agency, and this week end Dion Jordan was suspended for the 2015 season following his third violation of the NFL's drug policy.

Coach Joe Philbin's staff, monitoring the draft in second-floor offices at the team complex, was thrilled with the selection of Phillips.

''We almost had an earthquake up there with the defensive coaches trying to break down the walls, they were so excited,'' Hickey said.

Phillips overcame a difficult upbringing. Because of family tragedies, including the death of his mother, he lived with the parents of a friend in high school near Wichita, Kansas.

''It's tough,'' he said. ''But I'm happy everything that happened to me happened. It has helped me get to where I am today.''

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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