A Look Into 2018 Draft Prospect Harrison Phillips.
Harrison Phillips Strength Is His Strength
The first thing you notice when you put Stanford’s tape on the reel, is how big and strong defensive tackle Harrison Phillips is. His functional strength is apparent when he is able to out-leverage his opponent. Working the interior against offenses, it is incredibly important to be able to have the mass and build to hold up against NFL-caliber offensive lineman. Many have described Phillips as a run stuffer, with pass rush upside. This is backed up a bit by his 2017 stats at Stanford, where he registered nearly one hundred tackles from an interior defensive lineman position.
Phillip’s strength was backed up a bit more at the 2018 NFL combine when he bench pressed 225 lbs. a whopping 42 times. While the rest of his combine numbers may not be jaw-dropping, he put up better numbers than many were surprised by, myself included. His strength is great, but looked like an average athlete on film.
What I liked about this play against Oregon is it shows what a force Phillips can be against the run when he stays low out of his stance. It allows his hands to get underneath Oregon’s centers shoulder pads and drive him back. Does a good job extending and crashing down the line to make the tackle.
On this sites podcast this past week, Jeff Risdon mentioned Phillips towards the end of the article stating “…Phillips my god, he is a guy who finishes plays in both the run and the pass game, you got to love that.”. A great point about Phillips as to where I think he excels at the next level: stuffing the run. Phillips rarely misses tackles when given the opportunity to make the play.
Should Detroit Select Phillips On Day Two?
There definitely is merit to the idea. The Lions desperately need an interior perpetrator with strength to help solidify the middle of their defense, while hopefully adding to to the pass rushing attack that really struggled in Detroit last season. Phillips has proven he has the functional strength to play from the 1′ defensive tackle to a 5′ big defensive end in an over front.
However, there is an element to Phillips game that would likely need to change, or it could cause him problems at the NFL level and that is his pad level. He consistently stands up out of his stance. Which is dangerous to do on the interior of the line in the NFL. Not only do you lose momentum, but you often lose leverage and can be knocked off balance much easier. This was the case for Phillips when facing top tier competition, and was especially evident in his game versus Notre Dame. Often he was knocked to the ground or backwards after standing up on the snap.
I think there is room for correction with Phillips. If you are a coaching staff who believes they can work on his pad level coming out of his stance and get it corrected, you could have a very dominant and physically imposing interior defender with a mean streak. However, I think the risk of Phillips not progressing or not being able to fix his pad level issues makes this pick too rich for the 2nd round. Especially considering the talent at the defensive tackle and running back positions that should be available for Detroit to take with the pick instead. I would be more comfortable with Phillips in the third round, though he might not be available by the time the Lions pick.