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S Randy Phillips (Miami) - Undrafted Free Agent*
Like Ryan Stamper, the Lions planned on signing undrafted free agent Randy Phillips, but his health got in the way. As confirmed by his agent, Phillips failed a physical prior to the Lions' rookie minicamp, preventing him from signing with the team and keeping him off the field. So far there is no word on exactly when Phillips will join the team, but the plan is for him to sign when he gets healthy. Hopefully that is soon, as all rookies need to gain as much experience as they can during this part of the offseason, especially undrafted free agents.
*Once he officially signs.
Positives: Fluid safety who flashes skill in coverage. Pulls over the slot receiver in nickel situations, quick flipping his hips in transition, and effectively runs laterally with opponents. Displays a nice burst to the ball out of his plant. Solid sideline-to-sideline range.
Negatives: Does not always play with himself and often over-pursues the action. Marginally productive in college.
Analysis: Phillips has shown flashes the past four seasons at Miami yet never pulled together a complete game. He's an adequate athlete who could make it as a ninth defensive back if he shows well on special teams this summer.
Phillips only started four games in 2007 and he still has a lot to prove in 2008, but the 6-0, 208 pound Belle Glade, Florida native has the tools to play corner in the NFL. His versatility to play just about any position in the defensive back four is also a big plus.
If Phillips has a big year in 2008, he could quickly fly up the draft boards. His lack of major production at Miami is a concern, but the NFL will look past that if he grades out well at the combine and shows that he can be a leader of the Hurricanes' secondary in 2008. But if his senior season does not go too well, Phillips will find it difficult to make a big impression and be anywhere near the top defensive backs in his class.
11/24 Update: So, Phillips' senior year has not gone well. He has only played in two games and garnered two tackles. That will put Phillips out of any serious draft consideration. He is still a solid athlete who can put some injury issues behind him and get drafted at some point, but it will not be on day one of the draft.
Phillips was a cornerback when he first arrived in Coral Gables, but switched to safety early in his junior season. He was making an impact - he had two interceptions in a win against Florida State - and seemed primed to shoot up draft boards as a senior, but that season was cut short when he suffered a knee injury in the Hurricanes' third game. He was fortunate it didn't occur any later, because that allowed him to qualify for a medical redshirt. His second senior season wasn't great, but Phillips was still fourth on the team in tackles and recovered three fumbles. He has decent size to play the safety position at the next level, but isn't a particularly hard hitter and doesn't move all that well laterally. He has adequate speed but isn't the ball hawk many coaches like to see from their free safety. A knee injury like the one Phillips suffered is enough to scare off scouts with even the most talented player, so given Phillips' mediocre performance in 2009, it doesn't look like he'll get drafted. If he can latch on with a team and show in training camp he's fully healed, he'll have a chance to stick.
2005: 9 tackles, 1 INT (55 yards)
2006: 27 tackles, 1 INT (15 yards)
2007: 29 tackles, 1 FF, 3 INT (long of 36 yards)
2008: 2 tackles (injury resulted in medical redshirt)
2009: 53 tackles, 2 INT
Interception against Florida State:
Interview at 2009 ACC Football Kickoff:
Outlook for 2010
Repeating the theme from the Ryan Stamper post, Randy Phillips should just be worried about getting healthy at this point. He is missing out on some valuable experience because of his injury, so he needs to get back to full health and sign as soon as he can. Like I said in the Stamper post, undrafted free agents are big enough long shots to make the team as it is, but adding in an injury that keeps a player off the field makes those odds even worse.
Previously: Ndamukong Suh, Jahvid Best, Amari Spievey, Jason Fox, Willie Young, Tim Toone, Matt Clapp, Mike Moore, Contrevious Parks, Richard Dickson, Chima Ihekwoaba, Robert Callaway, Ryan Stamper, Aaron Berry
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