Philips has little issue winning one on one matchups in space.
Philips is an excellent route-runner who is sudden and quick at the stem to create easy separation. He is a nuanced route-runner who understands how to play off leverage and also use hand and body fakes to separate down the field. He has good spatial awareness to sit in zones and is a cerebral route-runner who knows how to uncover when his QB is in trouble.
Reliable hands despite measuring in the 6th percentile.
Very rarely if ever does Philips drop the ball. He showcases excellent hands and catches the ball naturally. He is able to high-point the ball and play above the rim and also can sink and scoop up underthrown balls with strong and firm hands. His hands translate as a punt returner as well, easily securing punts and never putting the ball on the turf.
Short area agility helps him shine — although from the slot he's often unchallenged.
Playing in the slot, Philips is often afforded clean releases off the line. He is rarely challenged by press coverage, so evaluating his release package is a bit of a projection. That being said, his quickness, suddenness, and technical route-running lead me to believe that he will be able to get off the line at the next level cleanly.
UCLA’s Kyle Philips is an ultra-productive receiver from the Bruins who predominantly lines up in the slot. Philips came to the Bruins as a 4-star receiver and made an immediate impact early in his career before developing into one of the most consistent pass-catchers in the country. Philips has good overall size for a receiver being listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds.
While his size likely would be an issue if he was projected as an outside receiver, he is actually above average for the slot. Philips displays good speed and excellent quickness. He is an outstanding route-runner who is sudden and decisive at the top of his routes. He is a savvy route-runner who understands leverage and how to set up defenders with hand and body fakes. He has shown an ability to win at all three levels of the field but does his best work over the middle on intermediate routes and underneath concepts.
Philips is as reliable as they come and offers outstanding hands and ball skills. He did his best work on third down and in the red zone, illustrating his competitive spirit on got-to-have-it downs. He is slippery after the catch and also is an outstanding punt returner. He is a good blocker in the run game as well. Overall, while Philips may lack true game-breaking speed, size, and strength, he does everything you would want your slot receiver to do at a high level and his consistency is off the charts. He is the type of player every offense can use and projects as an instant contributor in the slot and on special teams at the next level.
Ideal Role: Starting slot receiver with special teams value.
Scheme Fit: Spread.
Written by Brentley Weissman
Games watched: Oregon 2020, Fresno State (2021), USC (2021) Oregon (2021)
Best Game Studied: USC (2021)
Route Running: See Above.
Hands: See Above.
Separation: Philips is quick and explosive out of cuts and creates easy separation underneath. He is extremely tough to cover man to man because of his quickness as a route-runner and his technical playstyle makes it even tougher to defend. He understands how to play off leverage, use hand and body fakes, and is excellent at uncovering down the field.
Release Package: See Above.
Run After the Catch: Philips is a slippery runner after the catch. He is able to make defenders miss with the ball in his hands using quickness and instincts. He lacks power as a ball-carrier and doesn’t break tackles at a high clip, but he always consistently makes the first guy miss.
Ball Skills: Philips has very good ball skills and plays the game like a center fielder in baseball. He easily tracks the ball over his shoulder down the field. He locates the football over the middle in traffic, and he can make plays when defenders are draped above him. Again, his ability as a punt returner and being able to track the ball is evident.
Football IQ: A smart and instinctual football player, Philips understands the nuances of playing the game. He finds the green grass in zone coverage and knows when to sit down. He understands situational football and when to get out of bounds or to fight for more yards. He shows very good instincts with the ball in his hands and has very good overall awareness.
Versatility: An inside-only receiver, Philips lacks true position versatility. He projects as a slot-only receiver at the next level, but one who will be very productive. His inability to play outside will certainly hurt his draft stock, but those who value his ability to win consistently inside will appreciate his game. He does have versatility in that he is an outstanding special teams player.
Competitive Toughness: A tough and competitive player, Philips plays with very good effort. He plays with a passion and a fiery attitude which rubs off on the rest of the offense. A true football player, Philips does all the little things right in terms of blocking and special teams. He is a gritty football player who fights for every yard and plays to the whistle.
Big Play Ability: Philips lacks true big-play ability as he isn’t the biggest receiver nor does he have true game-breaking speed. That being said, his ability to make the first defender miss does lead to big plays and he can separate down the field while making terrific catches over his shoulder.
TDN Consensus: 75.08/100 (Third Round Value)
Crabbs Grade: 75.50/100
Marino Grade: 72.50/100
Harris Grade: 72.00/100
Sanchez Grade: 74.50/100
Weissman Grade: 80.00/100
Parson Grade: 76.00/100