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Darius Phillips Is A Two-Way Threat But He Must Get Better At Playing The Run

Hogs Haven takes a look at 2018 NFL Draft Prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

81st Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic - Western Michigan v Wisconsin Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Darius Phillips, CB
School: Western Michigan | Conference: Mid American
College Experience: rSr | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 5-10 / 193 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 6th Round
NFL Comparison: Brent Grimes

College Statistics

Player Overview

Darius Phillips is going to be a great late round value for a team looking for a nickel corner. He doesn't have the height or length you want in a boundary corner but he does have other impressive skills. Phillips was a 2-star prospect from Dearborn Heights, Michigan who was recruited as an athlete before he was moved to cornerback. He received a couple of other offers from Syracuse and Eastern Michigan. He is a good coverage corner and he got plenty of experience going up against top talent with his former teammate Corey Davis. Phillips has good athleticism and plays quicker than his timed speed. He is a confident player who will cover anyone on the football field. His coverage and ball skills are his best attributes. Phillips has the athleticism and technique to play man or zone coverage at the next level and should be able to match up with slot receivers and running backs. Phillips biggest weakness however is his run support and he has even been called ‘soft’ in that area by an NFC scout. He seems to almost shy away from contact against the run and ‘saves himself’ purely for passing plays. That ought to draw the ire of a lot of defensive coaches but he has another redeeming quality in his return ability on special teams. He may be the best returner in the class and he is a threat to take it to the house on kickoffs and punts. Phillips’ floor is a solid returner in the NFL with the upside of becoming a potential starter as a nickel CB.


  • Great size, speed and athleticism for the position if he moves inside.
  • Coverage abilities and will to compete against the pass are there. Checks the boxes for instincts, anticipation, timing, patience, and fluidity. He also has really good ball skills and can bait receivers and quarterbacks with a blend of finesse and physicality in coverage. Attacks the ball and has the ability to take it to the house after an interception.
  • A threat as a returner. Phillips has excellent short area quickness and agility. Combine that with his speed and vision and its no wonder he produced as much as he did as a returner.
  • Tries to rip the ball out of the receivers hands when making contact.


  • Is going to face a wake up call in the NFL that you can only check the receiver 5 yards down the field. I saw Phillips body checking receivers 10 - 15 yards down the field and getting away with it.
  • Must become more physical when providing run support. He is close to a non factor at this point and is way too ‘soft’ and passive. He relies on his teammates to do the work for him. I love that he goes to rip the ball from the receiver but he has to make the tackle as well.
  • Overconfident in his speed and recovery ability and gives way too much cushion at times in coverage. That was exploited only a few times in the MAC but NFL QBs are going to feast if he tries it there.
  • Likely limited to a slot role because of his lack of length and height.

Let's see his work:

More Darius Phillips videos

How He Would Fit On The Redskins

Darius Phillips should be able to see the field immediately for the Redskins as their new featured return man. He ought to immediately fair better than Jamison Crowder, Mo Harris, and whoever else the Redskins tried to put back there last year. Phillips should be able to compete with Josh Holsey for the slot position. I have no doubt that Phillips is the better cover man but Holsey may have more heart and tenacity specifically when playing the run so that hypothetical roster battle could be an interesting one. The team would essentially have to weigh coverage ability with run support and see which one comes out on top for them at the position and possibly a few other factors. I like Phillips a lot as a coverage defender but it was disheartening to see he didn't have much interest in tackling. He has the rip technique down a la Josh Norman which is promising but that can lead to extra yards for the offense as he usually requires help to get his man down if the ball doesn't come out. The Redskins could definitely use Phillips coverage abilities in the slot as well as his return abilities on special teams but if he doesn't become more aggressive as a downhill defender against the run he is taking one step forward and two steps back. I think he has the potential to be very good he’ll be tested in training camp.