Cardinals select DE Jaelan Phillips in 2-round PFF mock draft
Pro Football Focus’ Austin Gayle has Miami Hurricanes defensive end Jaelan Phillips going to a surprise team that already has plenty of veteran options up front.
Gayle, in a two-round mock, has the Arizona Cardinals adding Phillips to their defense with the No. 16 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, throwing the defensive end into the pass-rushing mix that features Chandler Jones, J.J. Watt and Markus Golden.
With the 49th pick, Gayle then has Arizona adding to another position group that doesn’t appear to be a priority: receiver. He has the Cardinals drafting Florida receiver Kadarius Toney, who as a senior pulled in 10 touchdowns and tallied 984 receiving yards in 11 games.
Phillips, the third-highest ranked player and the top-ranked pass rusher in 2017’s ESPN 300, signed with the UCLA Bruins after recording 218 tackles and 30.5 sacks during his junior and senior seasons of high school.
Injuries derailed Phillips’ time at UCLA. He only played 420 snaps in two seasons (2017-18) with the Bruins. Phillips notched 4.5 sacks and missed 15 of 25 possible games due to injury.
Then he transferred to Miami.
After being forced to end his 2019 season due to a series of severe concussions, Phillips appeared in 10 of 11 games for the Hurricanes in 2020.
The only matchup Phillips missed was Miami’s bowl game after he declared for the draft.
Phillips notched eight sacks in his lone season with the Hurricanes and proved to be a difference-maker. He is PFF’s fourth-ranked edge rusher in the 2021 draft class.
According to PFF’s Mike Renner, if injuries weren’t such a concern, Phillips would be in the discussion as the top edge rusher in the draft.