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Miami Dolphins rookie pass rusher Jaelan Phillips is starting to heat up at the right time

The 18th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft has already broken Miami’s rookie sack record, is he primed to have a big day vs. the New York Jets?

Baltimore Ravens v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

If rookies were judged based on only a handful of games, then Miami Dolphins rookie pass-rusher Jaelan Phillips may have been a disappointing pick. (Yes, some really thought this) But that’s not how the NFL (or life) works. Everything takes time, ESPECIALLY, transitioning from college to the pros.

We all remember that video of him waxing on and waxing off like Mr.Miyagi in the streets.

Throughout the preseason, we saw the 2021 first-round pick do various things—none of which seemed to be what he does best—rush the passer. Miami’s coaching staff didn’t seem (as) focused on what they knew Phillips could already do. Instead, they were trying to make him the total package.

A versatile monster.

He was asked to drop back in coverage, and every day, he continues to improve against the run. Early on, it was almost like Miami went back to the basics before truly unleashing their quarterback magnet.

And then, they realized there was no need to overthink things.

Let your talented pass-rusher do what he does best. Rush. The. Passer.

Over the last three weeks, Phillips has recorded six sacks becoming the first rookie to achieve this mark since Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers in 2002. Simply put, he’s starting to heat up like me playing OG NBA Jam using the Charlotte Hornets and draining threes with Grandmama Larry Johnson.

And while some of his sacks can undoubtedly be credited to the secondary or big men upfront—a majority have come by Phillips just being better than the guy he lines up opposite of. Whether lined up inside or outside, #15 is a non-stop wrecking ball. A heat-seeking missile that won’t quit until the final whistle.

But this isn’t a surprise. After all, that’s exactly what Phillips did during his 2020 campaign with the Miami Hurricanes. Phillips may have stumbled out the gate—but his final four games of the season were as impressive as they come. (Besides from maybe that North Carolina game)

Could we get an even better version of Phillips down the stretch?!?!

Here’s a look at Jaelan Phillips’ record-breaking 8.5 sacks

Yes, the Dolphins still desperately need a running back—but if what we’ve seen early on out of Jaelan Phillips (and Jevon Holland) is any indication—Brian Flores may have finally found the missing piece(s) to his defense.

Sunday’s matchup should be no different for Phillips, as the New York Jets plan to start veteran Conor McDermott at left tackle. The last time Miami and the Jets played back in week 11, Phillips had three tackles and a sack.

What are your thoughts on Jaelan Phillips’ ascension over the last few weeks? Do you think he’s poised to have a big day vs. the New York Jets? How do you feel as we approach today’s 1 PM kickoff? Let us know in the comments section below!