Jordan Phillips could be special & more on Maxx Williams

Oklahoma’s Jordan Phillips could be a first round pick

Yesterday we discussed whether Danny Shelton was one of the more overrated 2015 prospects. Today let’s focus on a nose tackle who might actually be underrated.

Oklahoma’s Jordan Phillips is the player many believe Shelton to be. He’s listed at 6-6 and 340lbs — incredible size if accurate. Shelton looks flabby — he’s probably playing well beyond his listed weight of 339lbs. Phillips looks right at his weight. The extra length helps of course, but he’s not carrying a lot of excess in the midriff. He looks comfortable at the size.

Despite being a 6-6, 340lbs monster he’s light and nimble on his feet. If you’re looking for a player who can run a sub-5.00 forty like Dontari Poe, Phillips might be a decent bet. Need proof? Here you go…

Shelton doesn’t show this level of athleticism. Not even close. He can increase his mobility by dropping considerable weight and getting into the 320’s. That would take some effort and control. He’d need a good conditioning program. Phillips is just a natural for his size — he won’t need any hard conditioning.

People love to talk about the ‘rare nose tackle’ — well here he is. Like most big guys he isn’t impacting every play, but all of the 3-4 teams are going to show interest. They have to. He’s capable of drawing a double team, he flashes a nice swim move and he can work through traffic to get into the backfield. He makes splash plays and can impact the quarterback. You just don’t see many players with this combination of length, agility and bulk. Phillips is an exciting player who could easily be a combine star who ends up flying up the boards.

He has a few average snaps in the tape below against Tennessee. There are a couple of occasions where he doesn’t finish. But he’s still impacting a lot of plays — more than the average nose tackle does.

Take a look for yourself. Do not be surprised if, over the next few months, attention turns squarely towards Phillips and away from Shelton.

Further thoughts on Maxx Williams

With it being such a weak tight end class, Minnesota’s Maxx Williams has suddenly become the talk of the NFL draft after he decided to turn pro as a redshirt sophomore.

In the last couple of days he’s been explaining the decision, with a few interesting quotes. He says he was told by the draft committee not to expect to go in the first two rounds. These grades are notoriously conservative for obvious reasons. Aaron Curry was given a third round grade as a junior — ditto Von Miller.

Williams says he’d happily go in the third. It’s been his dream to play in the NFL and it certainly seems like college was just part of the road to get there. His dad played for the Giants and Williams Jr admitted he knew Michael Strahan (enough to give him a hug, it turns out).

He really is one of the more fascinating players in this class. On the one hand, he doesn’t have great size at 6-4 and around 250lbs. When you watch the tape you don’t see a particularly excellent athlete. Last years top tight end Eric Ebron ran a 4.60 at almost identical size to Williams. I’m not sure he’ll run anything like that time. Tyler Eifert (6-5, 250lbs) ran a 4.68 in 2013 — Eifert looked quicker on tape than Williams. Jordan Cameron — a possible free agent this off-season — ran a 4.59 in 2011 at 6-5 and 254lbs.

At the same time he’s made more than a few spectacular plays. The hurdling, brilliant score against Missouri in the Bowl game showed ample athleticism. He’s made toe-tapping receptions on the sideline and he’s a reliable redzone target. Here’s the main thing — in the three Minnesota games I’ve watched from 2014, I’m yet to see a single bad snap by Williams. No failed blocks, no dropped passes. He is beyond solid.

But how do you translate that into draft stock?

Few players will generate more interest at the combine. We won’t really know just how high he can go until Indianapolis.


  1. Attyla the Hawk

    Jordan Phillips is one of my favorite prospects in the draft. He’s a prospect that I can see easily playing between the 0 to the 3. His size kind of makes him a NT in college. He has the tools and the athleticism to easily play a 4-3 DT.

    In fact, I think he would translate into a dominant 1 gap DT prospect. When you watch his tape, he has an extremely quick first step. He is almost always the first to react to the snap. Second, he sheds/swats OL very well and can split blockers very well. He seems like he plays NT, only because he’s got a great anchor and can take on double team blocks well. But his athleticism, quickness and active use of hands really make me think he’s better suited at the 1 or 3.

    • bigDhawk

      My only concern is taking a player like that with a high pick from a team that profoundly underachieved, in a program that is otherwise a perennial powerhouse. There is a lot of top-shelf NFL talent on that Oklahoma roster but they all individually had a collective part in failing to meet this year’s expectations, including Phillips, which raises some red flags for me. Rob is right that Phillips is too good a fit for 3-4 defenses at NT so he will probably go high, but I would prefer considering him and other players from that program a little lower.

      • Volume 12


        I don’t get what you mean. You can’t fault DT Jordan Phillips for the play of those around him. So should Seattle not have taken WR Paul Richardson because Colorado only won 1 or 2 games? Jordan Phillips is a highly unique guy. To me he’s a better fit for a 4-3 Defense. Seattle takes ‘3-4 personnel for their 4-3 D.’ Seattle’s 3-techs and 5-techs tend to be uniquely sized athletes. DT Jordan Hill to me is a guy who is a 1-tech, but can play 3-tech. In other words an ‘interior pass rushers.’ Versatility.

        Seattle’s going to get the so called ‘left overs’ of every round they pick in. They can’t sit back and say ‘We’re not going to take this prospect because his teammates underachieved.’ What can said player do for US/Seattle’s scheme.

    • Ho Lee Chit

      He looks like a good prospect with good fitness and mobility. My only concern is his 6-6 height is not ideal for the interior NT position. Like Red Bryant, he may need to move to the 5 spot where his height does not hurt him. You can see on the film his long legs cause him to lose leverage. His head and shoulders are well above that of the offensive center. He doesn’t explode out of his stance as much as he kind of unravels his legs. The shorter OL will get under his pads pretty easily and stand him up. The kid probably should have stayed in school another year and tried the DE position.

      • rowdy

        But he looks extremely versatile and athletic and that’s #1 and #2 for a hawks d-linemen. I could see pete falling in love with him. He looks rare for his size.

      • John_s

        Not saying he’s the same guy, but Michael Brockers plays inside at 6’5 and he plays well in there. Tony McDaniel is listed at 6’7. There’s guys but you’re right it’s rare.

        • Volume 12

          I tend to agree with rowdy. I could see PC falling in love with this guy. The only concern’s I have are as follows…

          1. How is DT Jordan Phillip’s back going to check out at the combine?
          2. He is a bit raw, but with immense and exciting potential
          3. Some teams may see him as ONLY a fit for a 3-4 D, and this will drop his stock

          Now, having said that I ABSOLUTELY love DT Jordan Phillips. Unique size, big time athlete, I’ve heard he can do a standing back flip and a 360 windmill dunk on the basketball court. WOW! And to Ho Lee Chit’s point. His legs should be the first thing to unravel at the snap, not his upper body. If his legs are the first thing to move at the snap, this will allow Phillips to get the leverage on smaller OL. Leverage can always be taught. This kid has some amazing potential and Seattle tend to draft on athleticism, character, production, and potential. He could play the 3 and 5-tech position’s.

    • Tbone

      I have watched Jordan play sports since he was in the third grade. He truly is a freak athlete. Kid was dunking basketballs in 6th grade. During high school football he played defensive end, tight end, and kicked off (kicked it old school about 50 yards or more all the time). In fact, I believe he would be a GREAT tight end if given a chance in the pro’s! He has great hands. He played power forward/center in basketball.

  2. Ted

    A little off topic, but I saw in a former thread that someone mentioned Tyler Lockett from KSU as a possible PR/KR/WR. I have another option in Phillip Dorsett from Miami. He’s only 5′ 10″ and 185 lbs so he’s not the big target we’re looking for, but rather a replacement for Walters. When I watch his tape I see explosive, big-play ability. He’s been a PR/KR in the past and while he doesn’t have any TDs, those could come at the next level. He had 871 yds and 10 TDs this year, but the big number is his 24.2 YPC. Currently he’s slated as a 3rd/4th round receiver. We should have a compensatory 4th and possibly another 4th coming in the Harvin trade. If Dorsett is still there, sign me up.

    • Volume 12

      I was a big fan of Miami WR Phillip Dorsett too. He has freakish speed and athleticism. However, lately I went

    • Volume 12

      I was a big fan of Miami WR Phillip Dorsett too. He has freakish speed and athleticism. However, lately I went back and watched some Miami games, and there was too much head dropping or head shaking, at least for me. What I mean is, if a pass or certain play didn’t go to WR Phillip Dorsett he would drop or shake his head. Same as when things got tough for Miami this year. I may be nitpicking, but with the whole Harvin fiasco this year I’m very wary of ‘prima donnas’ on this football team.

      The guy who I wish we could upgrade WR and KR/PR Bryan Walter’s spot with is U-dub WR Jaydon Mickens. Unfortunately he’s only a SO. This kid has video game speed and moves. Has the potential to be Harvin without the baggage and drama. We could be looking at a future Seahawk.

      • Ted

        Yeah, I can see your point against prima-donna’s since they wouldn’t last on this team, but as a counter argument Dorsett’s actions clearly show he has a passion for the game. The few things I’ve read about him talk about how he’s a fiery competitor, which can be a good or bad thing. Obviously, we don’t know as much about his character as the teams will come draft time. It’s also worth noting that Dorsett overcame a knee injury and Schneider likes guys who have to overcome adversity (case in point being P-Rich).

        I don’t know much about Mickens being an out-of-state Seahawks fan, but a potential Harvin without baggage and drama sounds good to me!

  3. rowdy

    Imagine him in McDonald’s spot last year. He doesn’t look 340 at all, carries his weight really well. Rob, have you seen any film on vance mayle? I watched a couple wsu games and remembered him looking good. Probably a late 3rd/ 4th round prospect but I think will get a 3rd for tate that we can’t trade. His body size might be an issue but I wouldn’t expect him to play much year one.

  4. peter

    Jordan Phillips intrigues me based on McDaniels, Red Bryant different players to be sure but Pete’s shown that he’s not entirely set at “the right” body type and will look at players outside of a set paradigm. its hard to project where Seattle will if anywhere draft d linemen. And as you said above, Rob, teams favoring a pure NT will value a guy like Phillips higher perhaps pushing him into a range unnecessary for Seattle to consider.

    As for Max Williams its almost oddly the opposite phenomenon that dlinemen are slightly devalued after a certain type gets picked…Williams seems to me someone who will rise quite high as long as his numbers are average, if at the com in he puts up even two higher then normal numbers say the forty and broad jump…i think teams will talk a potential third round pick into the first. I like him but not in first.

    • Attyla the Hawk

      I still think it’s unlikely Maxx Williams goes in the first. He seems much more to me to be a Zach Ertz/John Carlson/Zach Miller type of TE. Guys that go in R1 have size and/or speed at high levels. Now I think he’s a much better prospect than say a Jermaine Gresham or Tyler Eifert who were both picked in the latter third of round one. But I also don’t think those were good picks to begin with.

      If a team wants to take him in R1, congratulations on taking an early R2 prospect in the first. He looks like a really good day one starter in the NFL. But NFL teams generally only have 8-11 first round players on their rosters at any given time. So those guys have to make game changing impact. Just being a day 1 starter is not an acceptable result of a first round pick. Williams isn’t a special talent. He has potential to be a top 12 TE in the league. Maybe even have a career the likes of Jeremy Shockey.

      I think his ball skills are outstanding. Very similar although not quite to the level of Dallas Clark in 2003. But I see Williams as being a much better inline TE. Clark ran a 4.55 40. Jason Witten in the same class ran a 4.65 but will have 2″ on Maxx and about 10-15 pounds on him. Williams is a very solid 2nd round guy and anyone who gets him in the 35 to 50 overall range is going to have a good player. Williams appears to take coaching well and I’m sure he’ll improve well at the next level.

      The fact that Seattle has already indicated they are extra interested in upgrading the TE position, the fact that they like to take 2nd round guys as their first picks in the draft and that we’re likely looking at a handful of guys for our first round pick and are likely to move back anyway — I’d have to say the circumstances point to Maxx Williams grading out very highly on our board as he’s going to have significant upgrade value to Luke Willson and possibly even Zach Miller.

    • Volume 12


      When you say ‘it’s hard to project where Seattle will, if ANYWHERE, draft D lineman’ what makes you think they may not?

      IMO two of the most glaring needs, wants, or holes to be filled are on the D-line. Seattle must get a backup for DE-LEO Cliff Avril. I know they have DE Cassius Marsh coming back healthy next year, but I see him as more of a hustle/all out effort guy and a RDE. In some ways like DE Michael Bennett. DE-LEO Schofield won’t be back next year and they need some young bodies to keep their rotation going. Even if they sign a FA, they still got to get a young player to groom or stash.

      The other spot on the D-line, at least to my eye, is that ‘unique’ interior pass-rusher. I’m not sure DL Greg Scruggs will pan out, they missed out on DT Dominique Easley and clearly wanted him. I know they got DT Jordan Hill, but I’m talking about that guy who can replace DT Kevin Williams and eventually DT Tony McDaniel. A guy who can line up as a ‘big’ DE, play the 3-tech, and play inside or at the 1-tech in Seattle’s ‘NASCAR’ package. Again, versatility.

      I think it’s a need, because why else would they feel like they had to sign DL David King, DL Demarcus Dobbs, and play FB Will Tukuafu there? I know it’s usually in garbage time and he was a DL with S.F., but still.

      • peter

        Agreed its a need but its been a need since Marcus Tubbs went down all those years ago! Jokes aside every year its a need and ever year they are willing to bring in and play veterans and iirc Jordan Hill in the third is the highest they have drafted an interior linemen.

        I think this draft has plenty of players who actually would destroy in Seattles scheme say the have one or two weakness’ but they only play approx. 35 percent of the snaps. Pete seems to be all above maximizing the positive and the recent signings I think say more about Seattle needing volume so Kevin Williams per example can get the rest he needs and stay fresh.

  5. David M2

    On a less serious note, if we created a clone of Jordan Hill, Jordan Phillips and sprinkled in a little Cortez Kennedy, we could name him Jordan Cortezidy Hillips, and we’ll have created the greatest interior defensive lineman of all time!!!

    Only, if he only wears a Seahawks uniform, of course…

    • peter


  6. Cysco

    Phillips looks like a great prospect. His athletic ability is pretty impressive. Just for the fun of it, I ran a stopwatch on the play above in the Gif. He picks up the ball at the 31 and covers 40yds in 4.8 seconds. Granted this wasn’t a sprint from a dead stop, but he also lets up a bit towards the end. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to think he could log a 4.9xx without pads and with some training leading up to the combine.

    Size and athleticism. He has them in spades. I could see Phillips getting a very positive grade from the seahawks.

  7. Volume 12


    This is way off topic, but I fell as though it must be said.

    ESPN anchor Stuart Scott died yesterday after a 7 year battle with cancer (it came back 3 times on him) at the age of 49. This man was one of the main reasons I’m a sport’s junkie. My childhood is filled with memories of every morning and night watching SportsCenter and being enthralled with the anchors, but especially Stuart Scott. This was of course before the days of ESPN, SportsCenter, NFL network, etc. being on 10 different channels and on 24/7.

    He was truly one of a kind and being a black anchor he didn’t ‘sell out’ and feel as though he had to talk like a white man, for lack of a better term. He as they say ‘kept it real.’ I never thought we’d hear a speech that rivaled that of hall of fame coach and legend Jimmy Valvano aka Jimmy V. His speech at the ESPYs in July will forever live on and man… how inspirational it was.

    This man was the epitome/definiton of a father and truly loved his daughters. What a special bond he had with them. In one word, heart-warming. I ask myself, how could someone I don’t even know personally affect me and make me interested in my true passion, sports? It was because he came through my TV into my living room and bedroom and frankly captivated me. Talked to me as if we were having a conversation and he never ‘dumbed it down.’ He was innovative, creative, and ahead of his time. He was a great man, generous, and truly unique. I can’t really put into words what he meant to me and my family and I’m sure thousands of others. There’s not enough verbs to describe what type of man, father, and sports anchor he was.

    For anyone going through a battle of health, hell, any kind of battle in all honesty, look to this man for inspiration. He thought he could outfight cancer by doing thousands of push-ups and MMA training after undergoing chemo. How mind boggling is that?

    Well, I’m very saddened after hearing this news and at a loss. ‘Can I get a witness from the congregation?

    R.I.P. Stuart Scott, because you truly were ‘cooler than the other side of the pillow.’ And I think I speak for thousand, if not millions, when I say ‘We feel ya dawg.’

    • Alaska Norm

      Well said V12.

    • rowdy

      I second this! I spent a lot of my childhood watching him also. It’s like a friend past even though you didn’t know him it feels like you did.

  8. Volume 12

    Rob, I have a few questions for you regarding some DE and DL prospects in general.

    1. Just saw that LSU DE Danielle Hunter declared for the draft. I know your not his biggest fan, but he’s a pretty prototypical LEO. He plays with that Doug Baldwin type ‘passed off for greatness’ vibe. Albeit, he is inconsistent, but he’s raw and moves like a TE. What are your thoughts if Seattle were to take him, in say, round 2?

    2. You had a great article on Baylor DL Shawn Oakman. A fair comp IMO would be Oregon DL Arik Armistead. Do you think he’ll go in the first if he declares? If so, knowing how unique he is and the fact that PC coached and had his older brother Armand Armistead at USC, I’m guessing PC has known Arik for awhile, do you think he’d be a good fit for Seattle? Thoughts on him?

    3. And finally. I’m a big fan of UCLA DE Owe Odighizuwa and I know you are to. If Seattle were to take him, what kind of role do you think would fit him best? Again, is he a good fit for the Seahawks?


    • Rob Staton

      1. I think Hunter is overrated as a great athlete. Not seen anything on tape to make me think he’s a great football player. Doesn’t tend to get off blocks. Not regularly in the backfield. Love his athleticism but don’t get the hype as a first rounder. 1.5 sacks in 2014 I guess is offset by 13.5 TFL’s but I’m not overly sold. Thought he was meh in particular vs Alabama.

      2. Armstead could go in the first based on upside potential to play inside, the 5-technique or end some end too. Not had a brilliant 2014 and been hurt. It’s hard to tell what PC thinks about him — I guess if he knows a lot and likes what he sees it’s possible. But there’s a few guys he knows even better who he passed on.

      3. I love his hands and get off. He’s got an injury history that is concerning and limits his stock somewhat. If I can get him in round three I’m all over it. Maybe two. Great explosive first step, nice hands. Like him.

  9. Volume 12

    Edit *Owa not Owe

  10. Steve Nelsen

    I am really excited about the variety and depth of talent on the defensive line that appears to be available in this year’s draft. I expect the Seahawks to draft a tackle and a LEO and I wouldn’t be surprised if they went early for both.

    The latest Seahawks salary cap analysis by Davis Hsu at Fieldgulls posited that Seattle could keep Byron Maxwell but it would likely mean a salary cap casualty on the defensive side of the ball. He suggested Tony McDaniel.

    I have to admit I would love to see the Seahawks find a way to keep Maxwell. I know Simon is coming on but there is room for 3 corners on the roster in today’s NFL.

    With the age of some of the defensive linemen, I could see Seattle drafting 3-4 guys to compete for spots in the rotation. Getting Mebane and Marsh back next year will be like adding two guys.

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