6′ 1″ 235 lbs.
Strengths: Speed, recognition skills, versatility, toughness
Weakness: Size, strength, athleticism
Date: 2 Jan. 2009
One of the most underrated prospects in the country entering the draft, TCU LB Jason Phillips is a 4-time All-MWC selection, including 1st team 2008, and has led the Horned Frogs in tackles in three of his four seasons with the team. He has started all but one game in his 4 years at TCU and is one of 8 TCU defenders named 1st- or 2nd-Team All-MWC this year.
What Phillips lacks in size, strength and athleticism, he makes up for with speed, heart and intelligence. He is versatile enough that he could potentially play all three LB spots depending on the system he’s in. Phillips is equally strong against the pass as he is against the run. One of the major adjustments for rookie LB is the speed of the passing games in the NFL. Phillips should be able to quickly adapt to this in the NFL. With 2 pass break-ups this year Phillips has notched 11 total in three years along with 3 INT. Not overwhelming numbers but indicative of his abilities in this area. Where he stands out is his ability to crash backfields and disrupt plays. He has notched 38.5 TFL in his career with 7.5 sacks. He displays good speed and short area quickness against both the run and pass and does a good job of using his hands to defeat blocks. Phillips has the skills to be a load on the blitz but must get better at finishing. While not overly strong, he is physical and does not shy from contact and hits hard. He has good technique tackling and usually takes good angles to the ball.
His size is not much of an issue but despite his good speed and quickness, he is not a top notch athlete and can be limited changing directions. He has enough straight line speed and awareness to get downfield in coverage but this is not his strong suit and will probably be best in short zones. That said he can handle covering RB and TE as long as heʼs not asked to stay with them for too long. He has played the middle for TCU but projects as more of an OLB in a scheme that emphasizes speed over size. While physical, heʼs not naturally strong.
I am the only one projecting Phillips as a first round pick and while itʼs a little out there, I fully believe it can happen. Phillips has been one of the toughest competitors in college football for four years and his character will be a strong point for him come evaluations this spring. He can play the run and the pass and he is improving in both areas. I think he is a perfect LB for the Philadelphia Eagles because of his ability to get in the backfield and blitz while still having enough speed to drop back in coverage. Of all the teams in the NFL, I think Philly and their exotic blitz packages would be the perfect fit to get the most out of this prospect