The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Western Michigan cornerback Darius Phillips in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. What is his potential in the NFL?
The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Western Michigan cornerback Darius Phillips with one of their three fifth-round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. Phillips is my favorite third-day pick for the Bengals with his versatility and potential at the next level. When you turn on his film, it’s hard not to get excited about what the Bengals could have in the young cornerback.
As a freshman at Western Michigan, Phillips was a wide receiver. Playing in 12 games, he hauled in 32 catches for 479 yards and two touchdowns with an average of 15 yards per catch. He also ran the ball three times for 37 yards which put his total yards from scrimmage above 500 in a limited rookie season.
Phillips made the transition to cornerback the following season and made an immediate impact. During his sophomore season, his first year at the cornerback position, Phillips totaled 48 tackles (five for a loss), five interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), 16 pass deflections, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Combining his three seasons at the cornerback position, Phillips put up good numbers with 127 total tackles (13 for a loss), two sacks, 12 interceptions (five returned for touchdowns), 35 pass deflections, four forced fumbles and three recoveries (one returned for a touchdown. Here is a kid that is the definition of a playmaker. The Western Michigan product also made a name for himself returning punt/kick returns in college. During his four years, Phillips collected six more touchdowns on special teams.
Making the switch to cornerback seemed to be more comfortable for Phillips after playing wide receiver. The ability to recognize routes and schemes, he made his money attacking the ball at the catch point. Complimenting his 12 interceptions with 35 pass deflections in three seasons proved that Phillips has a knack for going after the ball. I think he will develop into a solid cornerback for the Bengals in a few seasons, considering Cincinnati likes to take their time developing cornerbacks.
We already talked to Steve Helwick of Hustle Belt regarding Logan Woodside’s college career. I got back with him to discuss Phillips who he also covered during his time in college. Steve game some great insight on what he saw from Phillips and expects to see from him at the next level. In this interview, there are a lot of responses that should excite Bengals fans on their new cornerback. You can also see my film review of Phillips here.