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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Edge Jaelan Phillips, Miami

Expect the Giants to leave no stone unturned when it comes to finding defensive pass rush help this off-season. So let's take a look at what Miami's Jaelan Phillips can bring to the mix.


Height: 6'5"
Weight: 266 lbs.
Class: Junior  (Red Shirt)
School: Miami (Fla.)

A lot of recruiting outlets had Phillips as the No. 1 rated recruit (No. 3 according to ESPN) in the 2017 cycle (alongside Trey Smith). Phillips Redlands East Valley High School in Redlands, California, and Phillips went to UCLA. After a few in game injuries, and an off the field accident, Phillips retired from football for a year before transferring to Miami.

Phillips had 8 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks, along with 41 tackles in 10 games for the UCLA Bruins. In 10 games with the Hurricanes, he had 45 tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss, 8 sacks, one interception, and 3 passes defended. Phillips filled in very well for Gregory Rousseau who opted out of the season.

The incredible potential of Phillips was shown in 2020. He earned a First Team All-American honor (AFCA), and was Second Team All-American for the Associated Press and FWAA. He was also a semi finalist for the Bednarik Award.


Retired from football while at UCLA due to a rash of nagging injuries. Sprained his right ankle as a freshman. Worked his way back from that injury only to sprain his left ankle and suffer a concussion in 2017. 

Then he hurt his rest and suffered a second concussion in an off the field accident which prompted his retirement from UCLA due to persistent headaches because of head injuries.

The injuries zapped the love of the game from Phillips, but that love was rekindled and he transferred to Miami in 2019. He sat out the 2019 season due to the transfer portal and dominated in his lone healthy season as a Hurricane.



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Excellent size and weight and already looks like an NFL player and his frame may not be maxed out; he’s long limbed with a good build and he possesses excellent athletic ability. Uses his quick lateral agility, burst, flexibility, and fast feet to help win at the line of scrimmage. Phillips is scheme versatile and can play in odd fronts as a stand up OLB and even fronts as a base end.

Very quick first step and uses his excellent lateral agility to fake jab and attack the half man on the line of scrimmage; combines this move with a violent club/swim and dip to allude blockers and take advantage of them when they’re out of position. He employs this move inside and when no help is available to the tackles he has a good chance of dipping his outside shoulder and having a clear path to the quarterback.


Hands are heavy when he attacks and he packs a strong punch which displays his good play strength. Does a solid job keeping his chest clean when he pins his ears back in passing situations. Uses his length and bend well as a pass rusher, and has flashed solid counter moves, but he could still develop a bit more in this area.

Has a quick first three steps up the arc. Leverages his hands well and can dip low through his lower body in tight corners around the edge. He may be tall, but he’s flexible enough to use speed rushes to attack the half man and corner into the pocket up the arc. Feet and hands work well together while pass rushing.

Good luck trying to block him with a tight end. Against the run, he gets his hands inside and violently controls the point of attack, setting the edge in a solid manner, and shedding with good timing. Shows good processing through trash; keeps inner rushing lanes tight and takes on pullers with solid technique and positioning.

Change of direction, patience, and processing make him a difficult read defender. Is very aggressive at the tackle point and intends to punish defenders with the ball. Pad level can get high at times, but he does a good job resinking his hips when necessary.

Overall, Phillips is a versatile EDGE player who possesses superb athletic ability. He executes very good angles, is a very good pass rusher with heavy hands, and he can set the edge while showing the ability to defend the run well. 

Phillips’ name isn’t highly touted as of right now, but he should slide into the first round when it’s all said and done; however, this will be contingent on how comfortable teams are with his medical history. 

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