From now until the 2022 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I’ll be profiling UCLA WR Kyle Philips.
#2 Kyle Philips/WR UCLA – 5112, 189 lbs.
Combine Attendee / East-West Shrine Game
*Pro Day Numbers
— Pure slot receiver
— Always ready for tempo
— Separates fairly easily from man coverage
— Has good habits of running abrupt routes vs zone coverage
— Does not go to the ground easily
— Familiarity with gadget-like plays
— Willing & decent blocker
— Punt returning experience; 2 career TD’s
— Lots of toughness
— Not going to win many jump balls
— Next to no experience lining up out wide
— Doesn’t run many downfield routes
— Looks a bit robotic on his most ran and targeted route (Out) without a ton of production
— Loses out on contested targets
— Three-year starter for the Bruins (23 official starts & 34 games played)
— 22 years old (DOB 6/17/1999
— Career: 163 receptions, 1,821 yards, 17 TD’s, 11.2 avg, 13 drops
— 2021: 59 receptions, 739 yards, 10 TD’s, 12.5 avg, 6 drops
— Ranks 4th on all-time UCLA career receptions list
— 2021 All Pac-12 First Team selection (coaches)
— 2021 All Pac-12 Second Team Returner (coaches)
— Four-star recruit (247 & ESPN) and listed as a three-star by Rivals out of San Marcos HS in San Marcos, CA – chose UCLA over Arizona, Cal, Boise State, Oregon, Utah, Washington State among others
— Was originally recruited under Jim Mora’s UCLA staff but became Chip Kelly’s first signee when he was hired to replace Mora
Those who know Chip Kelly’s offense realizes it’s fast paced with many short and bland looking routes at times. Kyle Philips however provides some excitement in Kelly’s air attack, not to mention run game as well. Philips mainly operates out of the slot with nearly as many snaps in the backfield and inline than he does out wide. Toughness is on display and there are times when Philips runs some embarrassing routes for the defense
Philips is an immediate red-zone threat as he can make the quick twitch moves to earn separation. On this play below, Philips places the defender on skates before hauling in a TD reception.
Philips can certainly leave a defender guessing on many occasions as he does here on a corner route for a nice sideline grab.
Philips also has a knack playing through holds and contact as he does here against a Utah defender to make a nice catch once he’s able to get past him
A part of his game you must admire is how quickly he will look up field to get extra yards in a hurry.
Another part of Philips game as a receiver you’ll love in a hurry is his toughness. Plays such as this one where it takes more than just one defender to bring him down are fun to watch.
The moment is also never too big for Philips as he proves here late in a close game against Oregon on a 4th & 8 play. Philips runs what looks like an in-breaking route a first, then places his customary juke/shake on the defender before hauling in the conversion near the sideline.
Philips also seems immune to the big hits as well. Not only does he hang onto to the ball, but he will pop right back up.
There are times when it appears Philips’ high level of awareness is on display. In that looks like an improvised route, Philips sits and calls for the ball before taking the initial tackler for a short ride.
The coaching staff must’ve had a lot of trust in Philips’ abilities as he would line up all over the place. On this play, Philips lines up as a FB and is tasked as one of the lead blockers on a play designed to go outside.
While watch Philips on run plays he can become more than just a body in the way as he will neutralize defenders often to allow ball carriers to gain yardage as he does here while in motion.
Philips looks the part of an NFL receiver, and his toughness will carry over to the next level. He’s not going to win many jump balls, but if a QB puts it on him, he’s going to catch many of the passes and attempt to make something happen afterwards. Philips wasn’t targeted a great deal downfield, but he does have a frequent ability to get by defenders, especially against man. The UCLA offense called for him to run a lot of Out routes and it seemed as if he was basically bored with them at times. On Crossing and Slant routes, Philips looks livelier and wants to make something happen after the catch. If there’s a team hungry for a slot ready receiver who also has returning skills, then Kyle Philips is their man.
Projection: Day 2 pick
Depot Draft Grade: 7.6 (3rd Round) – Potential Starter / Good Backup
Games Watched: vs Fresno State (2021), vs Arizona State (2021), vs Oregon (2021), at Utah (2021)