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Durkin's Prospect Watch: DT Jordan Phillips

By Dan Durkin–

(CBS) When discussing his new 3-4 scheme at the NFL Scouting Combine, Bears coach John Fox singled out cornerback Kyle Fuller and nose tackle Jeremiah Ratliff as players he could build a scheme around. The 23-year old Fuller, the team's top choice in 2014, is heading into his second season and seemingly has his best football ahead of him. On the other hand, the 33-year old Ratliff, who was unquestionably the Bears' best defensive player when healthy last season, is nearing the end of his productive run in the league. Thus, the team must look to the future at nose tackle.

Today we take a look at a physically dominant player who is short on experience but long on potential: Oklahoma's Jordan Phillips.

NT Jordan Phillips (6-foot-5, 329 pounds, 22, Oklahoma)

40-yard dash: 5.17
Three-cone: 7.88
Bench: 28
Vertical: 30"
Arm: 34 3/4"

Bio: Phillips arrived in Norman as a five-star recruit who played defensive end and tight end at Circle High School in Towanda, Kan. He redshirted his true freshman season in 2011.

In 2012, Phillips appeared in 11 games, finishing with 12 tackles. In 2013, he made four starts at defensive tackle, registering seven tackles, two tackles for loss, one-and-a-half sacks and a batted pass. His season was cut short after undergoing back surgery.

In 2014, Phillips returned to the starting lineup for all 13 of Oklahoma's games, ending with 39 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two sacks, one fumble recovery and one batted pass, earning second-team All-Big 12 honors.

In total, Phillips appeared in 28 games, making 17 starts as the shaded nose tackle in Oklahoma's 3-4 front.

How he fits the Bears' scheme: Phillips projects best as an anchor nose tackle in base fronts in Vic Fangio's 3-4 scheme. He changes the mold of the traditional stout, low-center-of-gravity anchor in the middle of an odd front. He's a long, powerful player who can hold the point in a two-gap system and reset the interior of the line of scrimmage. Given Phillips' length and ability to create an edge, it's feasible he could also be considered as a five-technique.

Phillips frequently forced a double team, as centers weren't able to get movement on him, and he held his own against two blockers. He also showed the ability to turn his shoulders and swim through double-team blocks. In addition to his physical punch and long upper body, he has smooth footwork and lateral mobility for a man his size and can flatten down the line on run plays away from him. His primary contributions will come as a run defender on early downs who can keep interior linebackers clean from centers and guards attempting to get to the second level.

As a pass rusher, Phillips showed an occasional flash when he anticipated the snap and flashed first-step quickness, but overall he's still raw in that area. He has a tendency to stop his feet and hand fighting when stalled in his pass rush lane. He must learn to play with a lower pad level to make it more difficult for blockers to get underneath him.  Considering Phillips has already had back surgery and was used in a rotation at Oklahoma, his medical evaluation and conditioning level will be scrutinized on his scouting report.

Draft projection: Phillips has the physical skills to dominate, but his lack of production and medical concerns will likely land him in the top of the second round.

Dan Durkin covers the Bears for and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.

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