Packers Interview Big Defensive Tackles

Not only did Green Bay host formal interviews with Jordan Phillips and Danny Shelton, but they also talked to Washington cornerback Marcus Peters, who was kicked off the team.

Why should Jordan Phillips be considered one of the top defensive tackles in this draft?

“Look at my size.”

Point taken.

At 6-foot-5 and 329 pounds, Phillips is one enormous individual. He’s more than big, though: He can do a standing backflip and hopes to run in the 4.8- to 4.9-second range in the 40-yard dash. NFL Combine Coverage
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Phillips, who the NFL’s head scout, Dave-Te’ Thomas, considers the No. 25 prospect in the draft, had a formal Scouting Combine interview with the Green Bay Packers. So, too, did Washington’s incredible defensive tackle, Danny Shelton. Shelton, a first-team All-American and Academic All-American with astounding production (nine sacks, 16 tackles for losses, five fumble recoveries), figures to be a top-five pick and would cost general manager Ted Thompson a long list of draft picks to move up and select.

Phillips played in 11 games as a reserve as a redshirt freshman in 2012 and four games in 2013 before missing the rest of the season with a back injury that required surgery. He returned in 2014 to win second-team all-Big 12 honors with 39 tackles, which included two sacks and seven for losses.

Phillips, an intelligent and well-spoken prospect, had little interest in talking about the injury. No doubt, he had talked about it enough with team medical personnel.

“100 percent fine. Ready to go,” he said, adding. “It’s been played up a lot. It’s bigger than what it is.”

With his imposing size, he’s essentially the prototype of a nose tackle, a position with question marks for the Packers. Letroy Guion and B.J. Raji are free agents – a matter further complicated by Guion’s legal troubles and Raji coming off a season-ending injury.

Phillips said he can be more than just a big, space-eating run-stopper.

“I like to think I play like Vince Wilfork,” Phillips said. “He’s a big run-stopper, he’s athletic, he’s big. He makes a lot of plays, he helps the team make a lot of plays. I feel like that’s what I’m going to do.”

Phillips added: “I feel like I’m a great pass rusher. I can do a lot of things. I feel like I push the pocket well.”

Before the Scouting Combine, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock expressed some concern about Phillips.

“Jordan Phillips is another one of those boom-or-bust guys from Oklahoma,” Mayock said. “But he’s 6-foot-6, 325, and he shuts the run game down. Plus, he's athletic enough to push the pocket. He started one year. He had back surgery two years ago. He's a little bit of a risk.”

Phillips’ position coach at Oklahoma was Jerry Montgomery. The Packers just hired Montgomery to assist defensive coordinator Dom Capers.

“He’s a coach but he’s a player,” Phillips said. “He’s out there hooting and hollering with everybody, jumping up and down, chest-bumping, talking like one of the guys. Until you actually get on the field, you don’t see him as a coach.”

The Packers also had a formal interview with cornerback Marcus Peters. On talent, he might be the top cornerback in the draft. However, he got kicked off the team. Since then, he’s patched things up with the coaching staff. He spoke with humility during his Combine media session.

No doubt, the Packers wanted to explore all of this on a much deeper level as they consider what to do at a position in which Tramon Williams and Davon House are headed to free agency.

“There are a lot of people that make mistakes and I am blessed to have a second chance with me being able to be at the Combine,” Peters said. “I go in these interviews and I go in and accept full responsibility for what happened and I just take full ownership of it.”


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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