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2021 Miami Dolphins draft picks: The Phinsider round table discussion of Jaelan Phillips

Hawaii v UCLA Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins are becoming masters of making multiple picks in a round in the Draft. They have two second round picks coming up later tonight, after making two picks in the first round last night. With the second of those two picks, the 18th-overall selection, they landed University of Miami/UCLA edge rusher Jaelan Phillips.

As with the discussion of sixth-overall pick Jaylen Waddle, this round table included Josh Houtz, Justin Hier, Craig T. Smith, James McKinney, and Kevin Nogle. What did we think of the selection? Check out our round table:

Nogle: “The Dolphins came into this pick with, honestly, only a few of moves that made sense. They could have looked to protect quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with a lineman, they could have doubled down on weaponry by selecting a running back, or they could use it to add a top edge rusher to upgrade their ability to create pressure. They went with the third option in that list, landing the top pass rusher in the Draft. And, of course, selecting someone from the University of Miami always excites the South Florida fan base.”

Hier: “Phillips displayed elite athleticism at defensive end for my Miami Hurricanes this past year, and he does everything you could ask for on the edge. The Dolphins desperately needed help rushing the passer after sending away Shaq Lawson in a trade with Houston, and it’s likely Phillips comes in and earns significant snaps from day one.”

Nogle: “Man, the love for the Hurricanes is going to be thick in this discussion isn’t it?”

Smith: “Great work on tape, freakish athleticism, addressed an area of need, and - oh yeah - he’s a Hurricane. What’s not to love about this pick?”

Houtz: “If you asked me who the top pass-rusher was in this draft class, I would’ve told you Jaelan Phillips— without any hesitation.”

Nogle: “I guess we should start with the main topic when it comes to Phillips. He has a history of injuries, debating back to his time at UCLA. They include concussions and an ankle injury, as well as a wrist injury sustained when a car hit him while he was riding on a moped. He medically retired from football in December 2018 after two seasons at UCLA, then after moving to Los Angeles City College, he transferred to Miami and returned to football in 2020 - having to miss the 2019 season for the transfer.”

Hier: “Jaelan Phillips is the ultimate risk-reward selection. If his concussion issues flare up again, it’s possible his career is over before it even starts. That said, the team doctors know a helluva lot more than we do about this guy’s health, and so I have to defer to the experts on that one.”

McKinney: “This is a risk reward pick if there ever was one. If he can stay healthy he will remind us in ways of JT [Jason Taylor], if not then the naysayers might just be right. Let’s hope for the best and that his health does not become an issue.”

Houtz: “Now, sure, the medical history and whatever went down at UCLA would’ve caused a bit of doubt. But if all that checked out, Phillips was always a first-round talent. He was always EDGE 1 (in my opinion), and Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins agreed.”

Hier: “This should be a homerun pick for Miami if (and that’s a big “if”) Phillips can stay on the field. With guys like Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (who’s still available) and Najee Harris still on the board, there were other players I would’ve preferred here, but I can’t argue with Phillips’ upside.”

Smith: “I had Jaelan Phillips as my third-favorite possible draft crush at 18, so yeah, I’m pretty stoked they took him. Phillips transformed himself from a relative beanpole to a 6-foot-5, 266-pound beast, and he played like it last season too. He totaled 8 sacks in 10 games last season and absolutely ate up ACC tackles on an any-down basis.”

Nogle: “I think, with Phillips, Andrew Van Ginkle, and Emmanuel Ogbah - plus blitzes from Jerome Baker - the Dolphins have the group to be able to get after opposing quarterbacks.”

Houtz: “Miami has a lot of talent at pass-rusher, but nothing like Jaelan Phillips. He can do it all. From setting the EDGE like a seasoned veteran to using his Mr.Miyagi hands to leave an opposing lineman in his dust, it all comes easy to Phillips. And there’s plenty of tape of him bullying offensive lineman to prove this.”

Smith: “He holds his ground very well in run support and he has a terrific first step up the field in pass rushing situations. He also flashed his ridiculous physical abilities at his pro day, where he ran a 4.56 40-yard dash (93rd percentile) and finished in the 80th percentile or better in broad jump, vertical jump, 3-cone, and shuttle drills. “

Nogle: “Phillips was not the edge rusher I thought Miami would take, but I also did not think Miami would be the first team to select an edge rusher this year. Going back to my big board, I had Kwity Paye at the top of the list, with Phillips second followed closely by Jayson Owen. Honestly, I could have flipped a coin between Paye and Phillips, with the medical concerns the only reason I pushed Phillips as low as I did on the board.”

Houtz: “Over the years, I get enamored by prospects throughout draft season. Jaelan Phillips was one of those guys. Because again, I think he brings a rare mix of speed and strength off the EDGE—and when was the last time we saw something like that? Cam Wake!?!? No! Jason Taylor?!?! Phillips’ impressive 2020 season was just the beginning of his ascension. The sky is the limit, and now alongside his fellow teammates, opposing quarterbacks will fear Miami’s killer defense.”

McKinney: “If he remains healthy then they clearly made the right selection as his athletic ability is through the roof and the sky’s the limit for how good a player he could be at the next level...if...”