NFL Draft Q&A: Pass-Rushing Linebacker

Ed Thompson followed up with a linebacker the Colts have shown interest in since the Senior Bowl. Find out what other teams have talked to this dynamic player and how he sees himself fitting into an NFL defense in this interview!

Ed Thompson: One thing that really stands out is your blitzing ability. Why are you so successful in getting after the quarterback?

Philip Wheeler: I think I'm pretty quick and that gives me the edge over bigger guys I'm pass rushing against. I'm also bigger than the running backs that try to block me, so I think that gives me another edge.

Thompson: You made 89 tackles your senior year. That has to speak well to scouts about your range and quickness on the field. As you're talking to teams, what are they saying about you?

Wheeler: I know the film has helped, so I hope my stats might help as well. They just want to know my past and how I like to learn the game of football. Some people like to learn on the board, by watching film, or physically. They just want to know how to best teach me their system.

Thompson: Who were some of the teams you had formal interviews with at the Combine?

Wheeler: The Giants, the Packers, San Francisco, and the Jaguars. I met with about 12 teams.

Philip Wheeler wraps up another ball carrier.
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Thompson: Did you get to talk to the Jags about how you could fit into their scheme and help them?

Wheeler: Yeah, we talked about Daryl Smith, who played at Georgia Tech with me. They said he fit in really well and that I would too.

Thompson: Who were some teams who talked to you at your Pro Day?

Wheeler: Miami talked to me a lot. I got on the board with the Miami linebacker coach and also Carolina.

Thompson: How do you think you'd fit in with those teams?

Wheeler: Miami runs a 3-4, so I think I'd be the Mike linebacker. I think I'd be pretty good in that system. We played a little bit of that, but not very much.

Thompson: Where do you think you'd fit in best at the pro level, as a middle linebacker or on the outside?

Wheeler: Because I played middle the last two years, that's where I'd be more comfortable, but I think I could play any linebacker position. I played all the linebacker positions in college in my four years of playing. I think I can play inside or outside, it doesn't matter.

Thompson: What do you like to do for fun while you're waiting for draft weekend?

Wheeler: I've been going to the movies a lot, I'm watching any movie that's out right now.

Thompson: What's one you recently saw that you really enjoyed?

Wheeler: Bank Job. I like Jason Statham, I watch a lot of his movies.

Thompson: Is there anything you'd like to pass along to the fans?

Wheeler: I'd like to thank the fans for everything. Thank you all for having me.

Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the network and at You can contact him by email through this link.

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