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Harris Has Eyes on Defensive Sleepers For Day 3 of the Draft


There were a couple of my Day two sleepers that came off the board on Friday night but none with the Texans. Let's see if the Texans can't add one of my sleepers on day three.

S Daniel Scott, Cal

I don't know why more analysts haven't eyed Scott as a potential starter found on day three. He was magnificent at Cal, but he blew it up at the Combine.

He ran a 4.45 s 40-yard dash, then posted a 39.5-inch vertical and 10-8 broad jump. Throw in a 6.75 s 3-cone and 22 reps of 225 on the bench and Scott put on a show.

Here's my scouting report on the former Cal safety

I mentioned Scott in my Day Two Senior Bowl observations and he had another productive day on day two, coming up with at least one interception and a pass breakup. I say "at least" because I didn't see every rep. Regardless, he has been excellent in coverage throughout the week. He was matched up on Clemson TE Davis Allen on a fade route and knocked away the pass at the back of the end zone. He's a day three prospect who could move up boards after his week in Mobile. Scott got GOT by Stanford WR Michael Wilson early in the week in one-on-ones but Scott put clamps on fellow Stanford WR Elijah Higgins, undercutting the out route for an interception on the sideline on day two. I kept finding myself writing "Scott, great play." He ran hip-to-hip with Nebraska WR Trey Palmer on a deep corner route, forcing an incompletion on day three. He's steady and made an impression in Mobile for sure.

I love his instincts and transitional quickness. He's super smooth interchanging from back to front or vice versa. He's a solid tackler with pop, even out in space. He sees so much on the field, whether he's blitzing or playing a middle of the field deep player. His overall game matches the athleticism that he flashed at the Combine.

Then, at the Combine, he tested off the charts; in fact, he was one of my 3-stars for the safety position.

I knew he was athletic, but that testing makes me think he could hear his name a whole lot earlier than most expect. I'm a BIG fan.

CB Clark Phillips III, Utah

Yes, he's short…er

Yes, he didn't run a blazing 40-yard dash

Yes, he's fallen to day three.

But, BUT, he's exactly what teams want in a day three pick and he could be a major sleeper on day three.

Here's my scouting report on Phillips III

Let's play word association on Phillips III. Okay, this is easy. Feisty. Athletically blessed. Competitive. That one wasn't difficult at all.

Phillips III is the prototype inside cover corner at the next level. His lack of size will have some teams shying away, but there are going to be teams that find a role for him, the lucky ones, actually. Once a team finds that fit, Phillips III will become a stalwart in that secondary. His Rose Bowl performance had everyone's attention, even though the Buckeyes threw for a million yards (keep in mind, the Utes played a RB at the CB spot opposite Phillips III). Phillips finished with a key forced fumble that saved a touchdown. He ended up with an Interception in the end zone that saved another TD. Yes, Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud lit up the Utes, but, like I said, that wasn't at the expense of Phillips III. There's some old school Antoine Winfield in his game but the guy that I fell in love with last year, at nearly his same size, University of Houston's Marcus Jones is the right comp. Phillips III's transitional quickness is on point. He has absolutely no fear in man-to-man coverage. He's got great, and hot, feet. He needs to continue to work on getting WRs out of his blind spot in coverage, especially if he's going to side shuffle/run and not backpedal. That said, he's an absolute football playing dude.

How good is Phillips III? Utah would play cover two everywhere on the field, but have Phillips III lock up the #1 receiver to the wide side of the field. Essentially, Utah would play ten-on-ten, knowing that Phillips III was taking away the opponent's best receiver.

Against Oregon in 2022, one play sums up Phillips III's impact on the field. Oregon started in 2x2, motioning the slot WR to a 3x1 and hit that motioning receiver on the flat route. Essentially, it's a wide toss giving the receiver/ball carrier a running start. Phillips III was in man-to-man and the Utes called blitz zero. So, it's the perfect play call against the coverage. The #2 WR picked off the LB assigned to cover the motioning receiver. Phillips III read through his man to the ball to the WR to the QB and recognized the play immediately. He then ran through the WR that he was assigned to in coverage and tackled Oregon WR Kris Hutson, a solo tackle, mind you, for a one yard gain. That play is absolutely, no doubt designed to beat that defense 99 times out of a 100. It didn't work this one time because of Phillips III. Play recognition. Reactionary quickness. Toughness/football violence to get off the block (a TE too). Tackling ability in space.

He has an excellent feel for the game and for the receiver in coverage. He can play so many different types of coverages effectively. He also has a keen intelligence for leverage, route combos and knowing where any and all help is behind him (which a majority of time there wasn't much assistance because Phillips III was trusted inherently).

When the ball is in the air, he's not going to allow the catch. That's the confidence that I have when he's in coverage, especially one-on-one. Oregon tried to run a blatant pick play on him in the low red zone. But, Phillips III avoided the pick, stayed in phase and broke up the pass at the high point. That's brilliant. He did get beat on a slant route and this is key for him; he got lazy with his feet. When they stopped, he couldn't react in time to the bigger receiver's break inside. He then got boxed out by a 6-3 pass catcher for the catch.

That said, he has explosive transitional quickness. Whoa, buddy. His interception late in the game against Oregon was all transitional quickness. Phillips III was playing in the slot, had curl/flat, read the QB's eyes and broke in front of a throw to the hitch on the sideline. Had he kept his feet it would've been a track meet to the end zone with the go-ahead score. GREAT play and GREAT football player.

DE Isaiah McGuire, Missouri

Down in Mobile, I was initially stoked to see what McGuire was all about. Unfortunately, I was left wanting more, but when I dove into his game film, I saw exactly what I wanted.

Here's my scouting report on the former Mizzou star.

At the Senior Bowl, McGuire didn't have quite the week I expected. In fact, I can only remember a rep or two that really caught my attention, but his film at Missouri was a much different animal. That's the good and the bad of this situation - he was great in a football situation, whereas he wasn't at that level in an all-star situation.

He certainly looks the part and when he faced my OT2 in this draft class - Georgia LT Broderick Jones - he gave the Georgia tackle all he could handle. In the run game, McGuire kept Jones from getting into his body and kept that separation at the point of attack. Jones could never reach him and it was nothing but McGuire setting the edge like a champ.

In the pass rush game, he kept hitting with different moves all night. He first hit Jones with a strong rip under and Jones struggled getting his feet and foundation under him. McGuire then bent that rush into the lap of Georgia QB Stetson Bennett repeatedly. When Jones squared him up or McGuire didn't absolutely BURST off the ball, the Missouri rusher didn't have a true counter to win those reps.

He has plenty of power in his rush. His best rush came against Tennessee in 2022. He shot that long arm into the Tennessee LT, got it extended and then gave a quick arm over to get free to Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker for a sack. He does a tremendous job of using his initial move to get enough extension/distance to then drop a rip move or an arm over to get free for a sack. I really like his pass rush understanding and acumen. I really like the football violence in his football heart, but he has to play with that conviction on every play. There are plays during a game when that leaves him for some reason. But, he can redirect on screens. He can run plays down from behind with regularity.

McGuire doesn't look totally comfortable in space, but I don't anticipate a 3-4 team will look at him for that reason. Plus, in a four man surface, he's going to be rushing, so I'm not panicking about it and that's a great thing. Throughout the 2022 season, he won off the edge for a sack or a pressure in as many different ways as a rusher could but he was most effective using his inside arm over. He burned Georgia's Jones with that move MULTIPLE times.

He was a captain and seemed to set a tone with his effort, but that game against Georgia, he was an absolute thorn in the side of the Bulldogs. He won that matchup with Jones. He ran plays down from behind. He pressured Bennett throughout the game. That's the McGuire that NFL teams want to see, not the one that seemed to not have a gameplan at the Senior Bowl.