Miami Dolphins exec reveals how Jaelan Phillips caught team’s attention prior to 2021 NFL Draft

Jaelan Phillips

The Miami Dolphins found a gem with the No. 18 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft when they selected pass-rusher Jaelan Phillips.

During an appearance on the Dolphins’ podcast “Drive Time,” Miami’s co-director of player personnel Adam Engroff shared what drove the team to draft Phillips.

“Well, number one, I mean a complete freak athlete,” Engroff said. “He can do whatever he wants on a football field, which not all guys can do. But, again, I’m going to go back to speed, high-motor, relentless pursuit, a natural pass rusher who can run like that who’s so physically gifted. He’s got all the traits that you can’t teach, so that’s why he’s a first-round pick.”

Phillips had a strong rookie season in 2021 for the Dolphins, as he recorded 8.5 sacks and appeared in all 17 games, making five starts. Phillips finished the season with 42 combined tackles, nine tackles for loss and one fumble recovery.

He looks like a player who will be a cornerstone for Miami’s defense going forward.

Phillips put up big numbers as a rookie, and it seems like Engroff and the Dolphins expected this to happen. The linebacker’s college stats show that he was always capable of being such an impactful player right away.

In his last collegiate season, which came at the University of Miami, Phillips recorded 45 total tackles and eight sacks. The 22-year-old was also able to compile 15.5 tackles for loss.

The Dolphins are hoping that Phillips can build on his strong rookie year in the 2022 campaign. After a fairly big offseason in which players like Tyreek Hill and Terron Armstead were brought it, the team is looking to make it to the playoffs in the 2022 season.