Jordan Phillips, DL, Oklahoma
Ht. 6052, Wt. 329, Arm: 34 3/4", Hand: 9 3/8", Bench: 28
40 yd: 5.17, 10 yd.: 1.84 , 3 Cone: 7.88, Vertical: 30", Broad: 8'9"
Games Watched: vs. Tennessee, at TCU, at Texas Tech
The term “Planet Theory,” coined by former New York Giants executive George Young and often cited by ex-coach Bill Parcells, is used to describe people like Oklahoma defensive lineman Jordan Phillips. The theory states that there are only so many people walking the planet that are large enough and athletic enough to play in a two-gapping three-man front.
Phillips had an inconsistent career in Oklahoma, largely because he only started 17 games. He missed all but four games of the 2013 season with a back injury, but bounced back to start 13 games in 2014 and earn all-conference honors from several publications.
There are maybe two or three other players in the 2015 Draft that can match Phillips’ combination of size and athleticism. With his burst off the snap combined with his size and, he routinely put college interior linemen on skates.
True two-gapping players are hard to find and Phillips has shown the ability to control both A gaps. Whether single- or double-teamed, he was rarely pushed back.
At Oklahoma, the majority of Phillips’ snaps came at 0- or 1-technique (over or shading the center). He’s actually taller than the ideal nose tackle, who are typically on the shorter side to create natural leverage. Phillips, though, showed the ability to stay low and hold double teams.
While Phillips does show good technique on many snaps, he has frequent lapses. In fact, he was virtually erased on several plays against TCU. That’s likely due to inexperience, but even a player with his athletic ability will be neutralized if by firing high and letting blockers into the body.
Zone blocking in particular gave him some fits. Against TCU, he had trouble when he looked to engage the center and ended up being blocked by the guard. Again, that’s likely a function of inexperience.
Verdict: First-Round Ability
Parcells revered players who fit the Planet Theory, often drafting them in the first round. Phillips has the size and strength to be a two-gapping 0-technique and the athleticism to be a penetrating one gapper.
Fortunately for Dallas, lack of experience and inconsistent technique will likely push Phillips into Dallas' range. With reps and coaching, he has the ability to be a three-down nose tackle, like Kansas City's Dontari Poe, which is a rarity in the NFL these days and worth the No. 27 pick.