RTI contributor Adam McCracken contributed to this article
As the 2019 NFL Draft nears, Tennessee fans unfortunately don’t have a lot to watch for. After breaking a long record of draft selections in 2015 and 2016 when zero Vols were selected, Tennessee will look to keep their new streak alive this year. The only hope for that looks to be in defensive lineman Kyle Phillips.
The 6-foot-4, 275-pound defensive end finished his Vol career with 114 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, eight sacks, one forced fumble, nine passes defended, and even added an interception that he returned for a touchdown. Phillips capped off his time as a Vol with the best season of his career as senior, setting career-highs in tackles (56), sacks (5), tackles for loss (8), forced fumbles (1), and passes defended (5).
Phillips also had a great showing at the East-West Shrine Game earlier this offseason, and the progress he made under new Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt has definitely raised his stock.
Now, he’s getting invited to private workouts, and one of them was with his hometown team.
According to a report from NFL Trade Rumors, the Tennessee Titans hosted Phillips for a private workout this week. The Los Angeles Chargers did the same.
Phillips’ versatility as well as his impressive showing at Tennessee’s Pro Day stood out to both teams, and it’s made him an intriguing option for teams in need of defensive line help late in the draft.
His Pro Day was a very positive one, as Phillips posted a time of 4.68 seconds in the 40-yard dash, showing a lot of burst and speed for someone his size. He also recorded a 4.77-second time in the short shuttle and a 7.44-second time in the three-cone drill. His vertical jump measured in at 32.5 inches, and he had a broad jump of 9’7″.
Phillips didn’t receive an invite to the NFL Combine, but his numbers from Pro Day were comparable to some of the top performers at the combine. His 40-yard dash time would’ve been second among defensive linemen, and his three-cone drill would’ve placed sixth. Phillips’ vertical jump would’ve placed eighth, and his broad jump would’ve tied for eighth.
The former five-star prospect has done enough to garner attention from some NFL teams. He has had ongoing conversations with the Titans, Chargers, Bills, and Cardinals. Phillips hails from Nashville, so getting an invite from the Titans is noteworthy for him.
Regardless of team, Phillips and Vol fans are just hoping that someone sees the potential and leadership he flashed in Knoxville and gives him an opportunity to shine.
The 2019 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 25th and runs through April 27th. The first round is on the 25th, rounds two and three are on the 26th, and rounds four through seven are on the 27th.