College: Idaho State
Position: Offensive lineman
College Stats: Four-year starter; AP Third Team All-American; First Team All-Big Sky
Skyler Phillips is hoping to become the first player from Idaho State to be selected in the NFL Draft since 2004. Back then, the Kansas City Chiefs took a relatively unknown prospect named Jared Allen with the hope that he could become a starter. Allen went on to surpass all expectations on his way to a potentially Hall of Fame career. Phillips would love to follow in his footsteps.
Phillips made a name for himself as a true freshman for the Bengals in 2013. He was left in the lurch after his commitment was dropped by Oregon State shortly before National Signing Day, and he set out to prove that was a mistake. Despite being just 17 at the time, he began the season as the team’s right guard and never looked back.
He went on to be a four-year starter during his time in Pocatello and was the centerpiece of the offensive line for most of his career. Phillips was the glue that held the offensive line together and moved around wherever he was needed. Following a fantastic senior campaign, he was awarded All-American and all-conference honors.
Perhaps Phillips’ greatest asset is his versatility. He ended up playing every position along the offensive line except center during his time at Idaho State. Primarily, the Bengals used him at guard, but he ended up spending about a third of his career at tackle too.
He was at his best as an interior lineman. That’s when he got to use his strength the most, punishing defensive tackles or linebackers that tried to shoot the gap. Phillips was able to throw a number of defenders off balance with his first punch, and we saw that strength at his Pro Day when he did 31 reps at 225 pounds.
Durability is a bit of a concern. Phillips suffered a couple injuries during his collegiate career. He missed Idaho State’s final seven games of the 2016 season because of a concussion, and he injured a pectoral muscle during the lead-up to the NFL Combine.
According to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, Phillips also has a problem holding blocks. That could be a significant problem in the passing game and means that he will not be on the edge at the next level.
Most NFL mock drafts have Phillips as a third-day selection, going anywhere between the fifth and seventh rounds. His power and explosiveness could lead to him being drafted sooner rather than later though.