With the 97th pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns selected LB Jacob Phillips (6-3, 229 lbs, LSU). Phillips was the team’s second of two third round picks; they had acquired pick No. 97 last year from the Houston Texans in the trade for RB Duke Johnson.
Here is a scouting report from CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler, who projected Phillips to be a 5th-round pick and the 17th-best linebacker on his board.
A two-year starter at LSU, Phillips was an inside linebacker in former defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s 3-4 scheme. He wasn’t a high-profile name on the Tigers’ defense, but he padded the stat sheet as a junior, finishing as the top tackler for the national champions.
Phillips is consistently around the football with his reliable reaction to movement, beating blockers to the spot and mirroring ball carriers. While a steady tackler (you can count his 2019 missed tackles on one hand), his body stiffness and questionable play strength won’t be as easy to mask at the next level. Overall, Phillips has limitations that lowers his NFL ceiling, but teams will be comfortable taking a chance on a player with his production, nose for the ball and straight-line speed – traits that project well to special teams.
Here is what Pro Football Focus said about Phillips:
With the 97th overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select...— PFF (@PFF) April 25, 2020
Jacob Phillips, LB, LSU pic.twitter.com/3nQD9A2dna
How He Fits the Browns
At last, it’s not a player who PFF had ranked high on their big board. From a positional standpoint, Cleveland let Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey go this offseason. The Browns have Mack Wilson and Sione Takitaki from a year ago, but that’s still a very unproven group. Phillips isn’t going to walk in as a starter, but the Browns needed to add more bodies to the position.
What do you think, Browns fans?
How do you grade the Cleveland Browns’ selection of LB Jacob Phillips at No. 97 overall?
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