Getting To Know Our Rookies: Jaelan Phillips

Jaelan Phillips: 3 things to know about Miami Dolphins NFL draft pick
No. 15 – Miami Dolphins
Position: Outside linebacker
Personal information
Born: May 28, 1999 (age 21)
Redlands, California
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight: 266 lb (121 kg)
Career information
High school: Redlands East Valley
College: UCLA (2017–2018)Miami (FL) (2019–2020)
NFL Draft: 2021 / Round: 1 / Pick: 18
Career history
Miami Dolphins (2021–present)
Roster status: Unsigned draft pick
Career highlights and awards
Second-team All-American (2020)Second-team All-ACC (2020)USA Today High School All-American (2016)

NFL Draft Profile

Player Bio

Phillips was one of the top recruits in the country in 2017, racking up 21 sacks as a senior at Redlands East Valley High School in California. He stayed in-state for college at first, starting four of seven games played at UCLA as a freshman (21 tackles, seven for loss, with 3.5 sacks) but struggled through an ankle injury and suffered a concussion. Phillips had a tough 2018, first suffering a wrist injury when he was hit by a car while on his scooter and then suffering another concussion during the season. He played in just four games that year (20 tackles, one sack) before UCLA announced Phillips was retiring from football. He changed his mind and enrolled at Miami in 2019, sitting out that football season as a transfer. He showed why he was a top recruit during his single season on the field with the Hurricanes, earning second-team Associated Press All-American and second-team All-ACC nods by finishing sixth in the FBS with 15.5 tackles for loss and leading his squad with eight sacks among 45 total tackles (also intercepted a pass). Phillips decided not to play in Miami’s bowl game. — by Chad Reuter


By Lance ZierleinNFL AnalystDraft ProjectionRounds 1-2NFL ComparisonMaxx CrosbyOverviewEdge defender with plus physical attributes and a motor that keeps him working and attacking throughout the rep. Philips might have the combination of length and athleticism that would allow teams to look at him with a hand on the ground or standing depending on his weight. Adding play strength will be important so that he can stack it up when setting the edge as a run defender in the league. He’s a slippery-limbed pass rusher with good first-step quickness, which bodes well for his future rush success if he gets better with his hands and learns a go-to counter. He has a shot at becoming a solid future starter along the edge if his medicals pan out.


  • Former five-star recruit with high-impact physical attributes.
  • Has shown flexibility with weight he can carry.
  • Heated up over final four games with 11 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.
  • Accelerates into the edge.
  • Adjusts rush track quickly according to the pass set.
  • Flexible upper body to help flip over the punch at top of the rush.
  • Gets skinny to shoot the B-gap and harass the backfield.
  • Closing burst to the quarterback is not in doubt.
  • Plays hard and keeps coming from snap to snap.
  • Very aware as run defender.
  • Sees mesh point clearly on zone reads and recognizes lane choice by runner.
  • Length to handle edge-setting.


  • Missed time due to ankle and wrist injuries and concussions.
  • Pad level rises too tall off the snap.
  • Below-average core strength for head-to-head battles against tackles.
  • Gets bounced off his base during redirect blocks.
  • Needs better command with his hands as a rusher.
  • Fails to stack moves to stay ahead of pass blockers.
  • Inside counter needs to be unlocked.

TDS Take:

As good as Miami’s defense was last year there were two areas that I felt they needed help with and that was at pass rush and Safety. Miami addressed both as I will talk about the pick of a Safety in my next “Getting To Know Our Rookies” but as for a pass rusher in addition to Miami many felt that Jaelan Phillips was the best in the draft.

The nation’s No. 1 rated prospect out of high school in 2017, the 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive end began his collegiate career before eventually rerouting to South Florida in 2020.

Phillips excelled in every defensive metric last year for the Hurricanes. He racked up eight sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss and defensed four passes including his first career interception. He collected 42 pressures on 286 pass rush snaps – one pressure for every 6.8 drop back snaps.

Far more than just a pass rusher, Phillips’ aggressiveness against the run and ability to set a hard edge offers immeasurable value to a Dolphins defense that places a high priority on funneling the ball-carrier back inside. (Travis Wingfield Dolphins Writer)

 As far as his motor and measurables he is second to none. He does come with some concerns as he had concussion issue at USC and that is something that can shorten a career.

I have made no bones about it if it were me picking, I would have drafted RB Najee Harris at this spot but as always, I fully support the Dolphins draft picks and hope this one pan out just as they want. A he stays healthy throughout his professional career.

Welcome to Miami Jaelan Phillips!

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