NFP Prospect Focus: Jordan Phillips and Malcom Brown

Every draft class has areas of strength and weakness. This year, one of the stronger areas of the draft, especially in the early rounds, is interior defensive linemen. You could see as many as six drafted in the first round this year. Two expected to go somewhere in the middle of the first round are Oklahoma’s Jordan Phillips and Texas’s Malcom Brown. Jordan Phillips – DT – Oklahoma Phillips is a fourth-year junior who is entering the draft as an underclassman. He originally enrolled at Oklahoma in 2011 and red shirted that year. He played in 11 games as a backup in 2013 and then played and started only four games in 2013. He had a back injury that caused him to miss the rest of the season. He played and started all 13 games this past season. Phillips is a huge man who measured 6’5 – 329 at the Combine. Not only is he big, but he is light on his feet and very athletic for a big man. He showed excellent change of direction and body control during the agility drills. Phillips is an instinctive player who is quick to find the ball. He is quick off the ball and has good hand use to shed. He can be extremely tough to block 1-on-1 and flashes dominating ability. On the down side, he can look lackadaisical at times, doesn’t consistently finish, and has very average pass rush production. He only has 3.5 sacks for his career. Some of that is just technique and learning to use counter moves better. Phillips has the talent to play in any scheme. He can be a left end or 3-technique in a 4-man front or play anywhere in a 3-man front. His versatility is one of his strong points. I see him as a player still on the rise. He has the tools to develop into a dominating NFL defensive lineman. Guys with his natural size and tools are hard to find. Malcom Brown – DT – Texas Brown is a third-year junior entering the draft. He originally enrolled at Texas in 2012 and played in every game as a backup. He became a starter in 2013 and has started every game over the last two seasons at defensive tackle. He has been a productive player each year with a total of 140 tackles and 8.5 sacks the last two years. While he doesn’t have great height (6’2), he is thick, strong and explosive. He is quick off the ball and reacts quickly to make plays. He almost never gives ground to blockers and has the hand use to shed quickly. He flashes dominating ability, he just has to play with more down after down consistency. He is a strong inside pass rusher, gets consistent pressure, and knows how to use counter moves. He has a good motor, plays hard, and is a good pursuit player. Even better, as a 21-year old rookie, he hasn't begun to see his ceiling. On the downside, he can get tall at times and will also guess instead of react on some plays. When this happens, he can get caught out of position. Overall, Brown is a versatile player who can play in any defensive scheme. He will come in and start right away as a rookie and has the natural traits to develop into a Pro Bowl type player. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

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