S Kenny Phillips (6-2, 210) – Miami (FL)
Strengths: He's a versatile defender who has the ability to play safety or corner at the next level. He has great cover skills and transitions well in pursuit. He defends receivers laterally and is always looking to make the knockout punch. He displays great range, soft hands and is a true ballhawk in the secondary. He defends the run well and positions himself to make big plays. He's a true leader who possesses great poise and confidence.
Weaknesses: He has to shed blocks better defending against the run. He tends to attack high looking to make the big hit, but ultimately misses tackles occasionally due to his over-aggressiveness.
Steuber Says: "The rich tradition of Miami defensive backs continues with Phillips. He has the capacity to be a special player at the next level. He has a unique blend of size, speed, strength and skill that teams in the NFL crave. He has the ability to be an immediate starter and have an instant impact during his rookie season. Phillips is a lock to be a first-round draft pick and will be chosen anywhere between the No. 8–15 selections."
JC's Take: If Phillips is anywhere near the kind of player that Ed Reed is in Baltimore or the late Sean Taylor was in Washington, then the Bears have to make him their primary focus heading into the draft.
Most of the problems for this team are on the offensive side of the ball, but there is a gaping hole at safety because Mike Brown can't be counted on anymore, Adam Archuleta was a complete bust his first year in Chicago, and Danieal Manning is more athlete than football player at this point. While Brandon McGowan played fairly well after supplanting Archuleta in the starting lineup and rookie Kevin Payne was a favorite of the coaching staff before heading to injured reserve with a broken arm, Phillips has serious pedigree and could be the next in a long line of great Hurricane defenders at the next level. The Cover-2 scheme necessitates outstanding play at the safety position, and the revolving door in the secondary is a big reason why the Midway Monsters plummeted all the way down to 28th in total defense this past year.
If GM Jerry Angelo does indeed go defense in Round 1, safety should be his initial focus and Phillips should be his primary target.
John Crist is the Editor in Chief of BearReport.com and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.