Jaelan Phillips likely to leave for NFL Draft with top 5 projection

Oct 10, 2020; Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 10, 2020; Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports /

With the latest CBS Sports mock draft projecting that Jaelan Phillips will be the fifth pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the likelihood is that the Miami Hurricanes star defensive end will leave if he would be selected that high.

The projection of Miami Hurricanes redshirt junior defensive end Jaelan Phillips being selected fifth in the 2021 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys make it highly likely he will leave following this season. Phillips cannot accomplish more at the college level that would increase his stock for the NFL than a top-five pick.

Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports has Phillips being selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the fifth pick of the first round in the 2021 NFL Draft. Trapasso projected the entire first round for 2021. In addition to Phillips being taken in the first round, Trapasso has former Miami DE Greg Rousseau being taken 17th by Baltimore.

Jaelan Phillips is having an outstanding season in his first year playing for Miami after sitting out in 2019 following his transfer from UCLA. Phillips has 41 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, three pass breakups and one interception. The last four games have been the most dominant for the 2017 top-ranked signee.

Phillips has 29 tackles, 9.5 TFLs and six sacks over his last four games. The dominance Phillips has had in the last four games of a five-game Miami winning streak is reminiscent of the seven sacks Rousseau had in back to back wins over Pittsburgh and Louisville in September 2019. Phillips discussed his 2021 intentions.

"“I’m just blessed to even have the option to consider that after everything that I’ve been through…This was definitely uncertain, and I didn’t know how this season was going to go. None of us really knew how this season was going to go.In terms of making a final decision, I’m just focused on beating UNC, beating Georgia Tech and then playing in whatever bowl game. What I can say is that I’ll finish the season out, regardless, for Miami as a team, for Miami as a city. When that’s all said and done, obviously, a decision will be made.”"

Phillips remade his body during his season off in 2019. Following injuries, Phillips worked with Miami strength and conditioning coordinator David Feeley and is currently up to 266 pounds on his 6’5 frame. Rousseau chose to opt-out for the 2020 season. Trapasso spoke about Phillips potential.

"“Phillips is a former No. 1 recruit in the entire country who’s blossomed as an explosive and polished edge rusher at Miami, with all the athletic tools and length to go this high.”"

Without Rousseau, Phillips and graduate transfer Quincy Roche have continued to give Miami a dominant edge rush. Roche has been projected to be a first or second day (second or third round) pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Trapasso has Phillips and Rousseau as the only first-round picks from Miami.

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Phillips has been the heart of the Miami defense in 2020. Miami coaches have routinely praised Phillips for his constant effort. The Miami defense led by Phillips and Roche has improved throughout the season. The Hurricanes have been particularly stout in the fourth quarter capped by the 48-0 shutout of Duke on Saturday.