Dallas Cowboys 2021 NFL draft positional series: Pass rushers
By Angel Torres
Former UCLA and Miami Hurricanes pass rusher Jaelan Phillips is exactly who you think of if you were to draw the perfect 4-3 defensive end prototype. He is six-foot-five and a half making him freakishly tall but not so much that he is a leverage liability.
He weighs 260-pounds which is still big enough to hold up against the run but light enough to still turn the edge and attack the quarterback. The 4.56 forty-yard dash he ran is very impressive for a man of his size.
Phillips on film is very aware of the run but still needs to get a bit stronger. Phillips can rush the passer and has a very good closing burst when he gets around his blocker in pursuit of the quarterback.
So why isn’t Jaelan Phillips in consideration with the tenth overall selection? The only answer that matters is his medicals.
Jaelan Phillips has struggled with concussions and even retired from the sport when he played at UCLA. Obviously, he unretired and had a great season for the U but a player with a history of concussions is my line. A player with three concussions who has previously retired from the game is a risky move no matter where you select him.
Players in the NFL are bigger, faster, stronger, and hit harder making any head injuries a very real concern not only for the value of the draft pick but for the young man himself.
I have Phillips as the second-best defensive end prospect in the entire draft because he has earned it but I would take him off of my board entirely. Concussions are not only scary to the player when it happens but they could derail the team’s plan at any moment.
If drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and the concussions seem to stop, he would have a very good chance of becoming the team’s starting defensive end opposite of Demarcus Lawrence. At the very least he would be a heavily relied on part of the defensive end rotation.
Like Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley before him in this series, Phillips should have a say at the top spot and maybe I should have him as the best end because he probably is, I just cannot place a player first on my list yet declare him close to un-draftable because of medical concerns.