Kyle Philips - WR - UCLA
This is the rookie profile for one of my favorite under-the-radar fantasy stars. Kyle Philips showed out at the Shrine Bowl – could he translate that to NFL success for the Tennesee Titans?
Height: 5′ 11″
Weight: 189 lbs
40-yard dash: 4.58s
3-cone drill: DNP
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Vertical Jump: 33.5″
Broad Jump: 124″
Bench Press: DNP
Kyle Philips was a four-star recruit, who set a freshman record at UCLA with 60 receptions and a team-leading 681 receiving yards. He broke out in 2021 with a first-team All-Pac 12 Conference campaign, showing strong hands throughout his college campaign. Philips was a good receiver throughout college. Maybe not quite throwing himself into the superstar talent, but also thrived as a punt returner.
Philips’ prowess comes out of the slot, which should be no surprise given his 5’11 frame. Watching his tape, we see someone with a strong release package who is able to separate quickly, thriving in the underneath and short yardage game. Working laterally, he’s able to elude press coverage – which is a good sign, given his short stature. That means he struggles with more physical press corners. We saw this in the Shrine Bowl practices, with Philips consistently able to get himself open quickly. He’s also willing to block, which will help him get on the field early and often.
The main negative of Philips’ game comes from his lack of versatility. Unlike other shorter receivers to come out recently like Elijah Moore or Jaylen Waddle, Philips lacks the strength and elite athleticism to thrive as an outside receiver. He also lacks length, meaning he sometimes struggles to haul in contest catches deep down the field. Whilst he thrives underneath due to his ability to separate quickly, he doesn’t have the true speed to separate deep down the field. Lateral agility and quickness are strengths of Philips – speed and strength are not.
Post Draft Analysis
Tennessee Titans- Round 5, Pick 20
At first glance, this wasn’t the best spot for Philips. The Titans are a run-first team, with quarterback Ryan Tannehill who finished 20th in passing yards per game in 2021. However, with Julio Jones’s release and AJ Brown’s trade, this depth chart is wide open. Even if the Titans aren’t projected to pass a significant amount, they still have to throw the ball sometimes – although Derrick Henry could probably handle every touch for at least a few games. Philips will be competing with the new Titan, Robert Woods, alongside first-round pick Treylon Burks. But given his likelihood to make the roster as a punt returner, as well as his willingness to block in a run-first scheme, there’s no reason Phillips couldn’t climb the depth chart to WR3 given uncertainty here.
Philips is unlikely to ever have a huge fantasy impact. His ceiling comparison would be a receiver like Sterling Shepard (I am resisting the urge to compare him to Edelman/Renfrow), as a slot-only receiver who has an upside in PPR formats. However, his work at the Shrine Bowl showed us that he can compete as a slot and a red-zone weapon. With this in mind, Philips is a low cost, low-upside talent in dynasty formats, who is well worth his fourth-round rookie ADP.