After improving their offense with sixth overall pick Jaylen Waddle, the Miami Dolphins bolstered their defense by drafting Miami Hurricanes edge Jaelan Phillips with the 18th overall pick.
The Dolphins have a fondness for blitzing and had the fourth-highest rate in the NFL last season, per Pro Football Focus. Phillips will add another potential starter to a defensive line that ranked 13th in pass rushing in 2020.
"This is one of my favorite players in this draft," ESPN's Louis Riddick said of Phillips.
How will Phillips help Dolphins in his rookie season?
Jaelan Phillips adds another athletic playmaker to the Miami Dolphins defensive line and should improve the team's pass rush.
During Miami's Pro Day, Phillips ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds, showcased his incredible 36-inch vertical and bench pressed 225 pounds 21 times.
The 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive end recorded 45 tackles, including 15.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks and one interception in 10 games last season. He also recorded three pass breakups. His productive 2020 campaign earned him a place on the Associated Press' All-American second-team.
Phillips spent his first two seasons in college football at UCLA, where he totaled 41 tackles, including eight for loss and 4.5 sacks in two seasons. He had to sit out the 2019 season after transferring to the Miami Hurricanes.
Phillips was listed as the top overall recruit by the 247 Sports Composite out of Redlands East High School. He recorded 218 tackles, 30.5 sacks and two interceptions during his junior and senior years.
Prediction for Phillips' rookie season
Jaelan Phillips will remain in Miami and join Emmanuel Ogbah on a Dolphins' defensive line that likes to get after the opposing quarterback. Ogbah led the team with nine sacks last season.
Miami traded defensive end Shaq Lawson and released linebacker Kyle Van Noy in the offseason. Phillips will help fill the hole at the edge and should be a Week 1 starter for the Dolphins.
The team has six picks remaining in the draft:
- Round 2, pick 36
- Round 2, pick 50
- Round 3, pick 81
- Round 5, pick 156
- Round 7, pick 231
- Round 7, pick 258