LB Jacob Phillips, LSU
The Chargers are thin at linebacker. Cutting Thomas Davis was a good move for the future as well as the current cap situation, but he has to be replaced. Personally, this isn’t one of my favorite position groups of the draft. Linebacker is fairly weak at the top of the draft, but there’s decent finds in later rounds.
Enter Jacob Phillips. He went from being a sixth-rounder to a fourth or fifth-rounder in most mock drafts after his great 40-yard dash, vertical, and broad jumps at the combine. If he wasn’t coming out of school early, it’s very possible he could be a late first or early second-round pick in 2021.
Phillips had 113 tackles when he finally got the opportunity to start in his junior year. He’s a tackling machine that’s always going to finish on the play. When he’s covering receivers downfield, he does a pretty decent job at keeping up. His size and length will translate well to the next level. At 6’4″ and 230 with fairly long arms, he’s like if Ed Orgeron built a linebacker in a lab.
Where Phillips can struggle is in coverage of running backs and tight ends, which is why he may be lower on some draft boards. There’s no doubt he needs to develop a little bit when it comes to the coverage in the second level, but after watching tape and looking at the numbers, it’s hard to say that’s a reason that he just flat out shouldn’t be taken.
Phillips just seems like a good fit for the Chargers right now. As mentioned earlier, Davis is gone. Denzel Perryman probably won’t be around for too much longer after restructuring his contract. The Chargers are mostly going with youth in the linebacker core with players like Kyzir White and Drue Tranquill. Getting a great tackler who can develop in coverage is a good start to a retool.
Jacob Phillips, smooth! pic.twitter.com/USz5RaiyGA
— Lifelong TOMpa Bay Buccaneers fan (@FTBeard1) March 1, 2020