All-ACC Defender Named Ravens’ Early-Round Draft Fit

Jaelan Phillips

Getty Jaelan Phillips playing for UCLA pursuing a Cincinnati player.

The Baltimore Ravens are thinking about what to do in the NFL Draft, and as the event pushes ever closer, the needs continue to remain obvious for the team.

Both the defense and the offense have some major needs that should be ironed out with some draft work, and the needs are obvious for the team as they push toward the end of the draft period. A new Bleacher Report piece identified the biggest draft needs for every team and the best fit. According to writer Brent Sobleski, the team’s defense needs help along with the edge spot and Jaelan Phillips fits the bill.

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He wrote:

“Defensively, the unit lost a significant portion of its pass-rush capabilities with Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue leaving in free agency, though Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee remain.

On the other side of the ball, Orlando Brown Jr. could potentially be traded before or during the draft, which will create a hole at right tackle. Center was already an issue after last year’s disappointing performances by multiple options.

While tight end doesn’t seem like a major concern with Mark Andrews on the roster, the offense took a significant step back in 2020 when utilizing 12 personnel far less.”

Obviously, of the most interest here is the defensive discussion seeing as that’s where the Ravens have done their most impressive work lately on the field. Getting another player to fill in on the defensive side that can rush the passer would figure to be a huge win for the team. Adding Phillips to do so would be a bonus for the Ravens.

Phillips’ Stats and Highlights

After playing a couple of years for UCLA, Phillips transferred to the University of Miami, and in his one season with the Hurricanes, saw his production jump impressively. His first two seasons with the Bruins, Phillips only put up 4.5 sacks and 41 total tackles. By transferring, Phillips was able to get his career going to the tune of 45 tackles and 8 sacks in 2020. This production points to the fact that he could be an elite option for a team that can make him work early in the draft.

A peek at the highlights shows Phillips causing some major disruption.

Jaelan Phillips 2020 Regular Season Highlights | Miami DLJaelan Phillips was one of the biggest surprises for Miami in the 2020 season.  The defensive end was highly productive, leading the Hurricanes in tackles for loss and sacks, and being named to the All-ACC Second- Team. Phillips finished the year with 45.0 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, and an interception. Watch Jaelan Phillips…2021-02-09T14:47:23Z

Phillips was selected a second-team All-ACC player from 2020, so it’s obvious he has the talent to translate to the NFL.

Ravens’ Edge Rusher Options for Draft

The good news? The Ravens should have plenty of ways to fill this need for the future in the draft. Baltimore picks 27th overall, and the team could be looking at a few options in that zone of the draft such as Penn State edge rusher Jayson Oweh, Michigan’s Kwity Paye or Georgia linebacker Azeez Ojulari. Miami’s Gregory Rousseau could also be in the mix, but could be gone by the time Baltimore picks. Even though the Ravens have big needs at the spot of wideout, it could be argued that edge is the bigger need like in this case. If that is true, the team will have to step up and find a solution relatively quick in the NFL Draft in order to solve the need.

Any of these players could do that for Baltimore early on, and someone like Phillips could be a sneaky great addition as a result.

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