When the Miami Dolphins drafted Jaelan Phillips (EDGE No.1) with the 18th-overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the fanbase was excited. Sure, some would’ve preferred the team drafted Najee Harris—but what a player like Phillips could do to Brian Flores’ defense—would be a game-changer.
(Let the record show that I was 100% behind the Jaelan Phillips pick. He was my top pass-rusher in this class and a player I was #stoked for.)
Throughout the preseason, fans were up and down on the 18th-overall pick’s performance. (I was not.)
First, Phillips didn’t suit up in Miami’s week one preseason matchup vs. the Chicago Bears. And for a player whose most significant question mark is about his health—it gave some of the naysayers something to talk about.
Phillips' first live NFL action would come in week two vs. the Atlanta Falcons. The former Miami Hurricane standout combined for two tackles. He set the EDGE well and looked explosive off the line. But as you can expect, fans wanted to see more.
Miami’s next game would be against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Phillips, to some, looked less impressive in this game. (Again, not me.)
He did not record a tackle and, at times, looked to be locked down. (Though a closer look would show he was double-teamed frequently throughout the game.) Heck, the Dolphins even had him dropping back into coverage at times. It was head-scratching to some fans, and the doubt continued to grow. (Never a doubt in my mind, tbqh)
In my opinion, it seemed that Flores and his staff were trying to get Phillips to improve in areas of weakness. They want him to be a complete player, as they do with all of their players.
Phillips set the EDGE well. He took on double and even triple teams at times. He was an asset in stopping the run, and as we mentioned previously, he even dropped back into coverage.
Even more impressive was his explosiveness off the line of scrimmage (more on that later).
Overall, Jaelan Phillips showed me enough (this preseason) to get excited about what he can do in the NFL.
On Sunday, Jaelan Phillips made his NFL debut against the New England Patriots. And although he may not have recorded a tackle, Miami’s young pass-rusher made the most out of his 22 snaps.
here's every rep (i think) from jaelan phillips week one performance vs the new england patriots. #finsup pic.twitter.com/el77k5qvwN— josh houtz (@houtz) September 17, 2021
Phillips took on double teams. He created pressure and opened up lanes for others to get to the quarterback. #stuntin
Most impressive, however, was how explosive he was off the line of scrimmage. Next-Gen Stats had the Dolphins rookie pass rusher as the fourth-fastest player off the line of scrimmage in week one behind the Texans Jacob Martin, Pittsburgh’s Alex Highsmith, and Los Angeles Chargers superstar Joey Bosa. (Minimum of 15 snaps.)
Joey Bosa showed off his elite burst in the Chargers Week 1 victory over Washington.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 16, 2021
Bosa (0.51 seconds) was the only defender in the NFL with a pass rush get-off below 0.65 seconds (min. 15 pass rushes).#BoltUp pic.twitter.com/jZUlzF0Y7r
As I discussed on this week’s episode of Phinsider Radio, if the Miami Dolphins want to defeat the Buffalo Bills this Sunday and stop one of the game’s best quarterbacks, Jaelan Phillips will have to get more snaps.
Unleash Jaelan Phillips, and good things will come. (Jevon Holland too)
What were your thoughts on Jaelan Phillips in Sunday’s 17-16 win over the New England Patriots? Do you think he should get more reps this weekend vs the Buffalo Bills? Is he the key to stopping Josh Allen and Buffalo’s high-octane offense? Let us know in the comments section below!