Reaction on Miami’s selection of Oklahoma defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and other thoughts after round two of the draft:
Mel Kiper: “You look at him; He is huge, a mountainous defensive tackle, 6-5, 330 pounds, incredibly long arms. He’s a space eater who can penetrate at times, work through a double team. Wore down late in games, second half of games. Up and down effort. Needs to increase his stamina, his endurance.
"Production was so-so. He was highly regarded coming out of high school. He had that back injury, back surgery in 2013. That was a concern through the draft process, along with the fact while he’s athletic for his size, he has to get in better shape, has to be better in the second half of games.”
ESPN’s Todd McShay: “You don’t see guys that have this ability. God only makes a few of these guys. He’s one of biggest, most athletic defensive linemen I’ve ever evaluated on tape. He can do back flips standing up at the size. But too high coming out of his stance. Doesn’t fight through the double team at times. He’s content just doing his job sometimes, which is fine.
"But when you’re talking about a top 55 player overall in the draft, you’ve got to do more. My hope for Jordan Phillips is, with all this natural ability, is he gets pushed and Suh will teach him how to be a great worker in order to get the most out of him. I’m telling you right now, Phillips is one of the 10, 12 most naturally gifted individuals in this entire draft class.”
### NFL Network’s Mike Mayock: “Only started 16 games in college but he’s a dancing bear. Has first-round ability all over him. He controls the run game. He reminds me of Terrance Knighton. People question his football character, which is why he is being selected in the second round and not the first.”
### Lots of good stuff from CBSSports.com’s Rob Rang, on Phillips. Here’s his assessment:
Overall: “Phillips' blend of size and athleticism is certainly intriguing and teams operating out of traditional three- and four-man fronts, alike, will be interested. He commands double teams in the middle and makes the occasional splashy play, demonstrating surprising quickness for a man of his size. He comes with obvious red-flags, however, not the least of which is his relative inexperience and the back injury which ruined his 2013 campaign.”
Strengths: “Naturally large man with good overall weight distribution. Tall, broad shouldered, long-limbed player with a thick lower half. Surprisingly athletic for a player of his size, exhibiting good initial quickness, lateral agility and impressive straight-line speed. Occasionally explodes off the ball and can ruin plays before they have a chance to work.”
Weaknesses: “Not yet the sum of his parts. Too often stands up at the snap, negating his own power and while very quick for a man of his size, too rarely makes plays at the point of attack, as ball carriers are often able to avoid him. Too often latches onto blockers and reacts to what he sees, rather than penetrating. Despite his length, has just two passes broken up in 27 career games.
“Underwent back surgery in October of 2013 in an attempt to correct issues that had bothered him for a few years. As head coach Bob Stoops said at the time of Phillips' surgery, the procedure wasn't due to one specific injury. Has only one full season of starting experience at the collegiate level.”
Rang compares him to Kansas City’s Dontari Poe: “Because of their similar build and eye-popping athleticism, Poe is the easy comparison for Phillips. While Poe has emerged as one of the NFL's most intimidating nose guards, many others with similar talents have struggled with consistency in the NFL.
“Phillips could just as easily wind up the second coming of Marcus Stroud or Albert Haynesworth, who lacked the requisite work ethic to take full advantage of their talents. Given Phillips' history of back issues, former first rounders turned early NFL retirees Marcus Tubbs (Seattle) and Justin Harrell (Green Bay) could unfortunately prove valid comparisons, as well.”
A few other thoughts:
### Phillips overcame a difficult childhood. According to The Oklahoman, his father was in and out of jail when Phillips was a child and his mother died in a car accident when Phillips was 2.
Phillips moved in with his grandparents in Wichita after his mother died, but his grandmother slipped into a coma after a stroke when Phillips was in sixth grade.
Phillips later moved in with the parents of a friend at school and got his grades in order.
### The Dolphins will be thrilled if Phillips is as good as their last three picks at No. 52: Chris Chambers, John Offerdal and Mark Duper.
### As we noted earlier this week, a defensive tackle was a possibility in the second round because: 1) Miami felt it needed depth behind Ndamukong Suh and Earl Mitchell. (AJ Francis and Anthony Johnson also have potential.) and 2) The Dolphins used three of their 30 pre-draft visits on second-round DTs: Phillips, Iowa's Carl Davis and Washington State's Xavier Cooper.
### It will be fascinating to see if Phillips ends up a better player than cornerback Eric Rowe (Miami traded the 47th pick to the Eagles, who used the pick on Rowe), UM linebacker Denzel Perryman and FSU cornerback Ronald Darby (who both went between 47 and Miami’s trade-down pick at 52), or Oregon tackle/guard Jake Fisher, who went after Miami’s pick.
### The fact Miami didn’t draft a cornerback increases the chances of Jamar Taylor or Zack Bowman starting opposite Brent Grimes. The Dolphins see Brice McCain as their nickel back; he’ll be on the field a lot.
And the fact Miami passed on Perryman (and never had a chance to draft Bernadrick McKinney or Eric Kendricks in round two) boosts the chances of Kelvin Sheppard or Chris McCain starting alongside Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi at linebacker. But Miami played with only two linebackers on the field a lot last year.
### Unless the Dolphins find a starting guard in the fourth or fifth rounds --- or unless they end up with the Eagles’ Evan Mathis, who could be cut --- then Miami’s starting guards figure to be two among Billy Turner (a front-runner for one job), Dallas Thomas and Jeff Linkenbach and former Giants starting center J.D. Walton.
### Miami’s remaining picks, after the trade with Philadelphia: one pick in the fourth round (114th) and four in the fifth (145, 149, 150, 156).