Is Kenny Phillips NFL-ready?
Yes, according to his position coach, Dave Merritt, whos had a few days to work with the first-round draft pick at safety.
This kid, in the classroom, has shown unbelievable recall for the defense, Merritt said. We put in things back early in the (rookie) minicamp and hes able to recall it here it is a week or two later. Im very excited about that.
"As far as his God-given ability mentally, this kid is very good."
Phillips still has some work to do on covering routes and finding proper angles, but Merritt said Phillips approach is perfect so far.
Hes also showing some signs of a top-notch ballhawk. Merritt said there was one play in the rookie minicamp in which Phillips was able to get from the middle of the field to the outside edge of the numbers. Phillips didnt show much of that ability in college; he was mostly an in-the-box safety at Miami.
Kenny going back and playing the middle post, I would have no problem with that, Merritt said. As far as a box safety, hes got the size of a linebacker. Hes not as heavy as some of the linebackers, but the kid has a nice bone structure to him. I think hes gonna be able to play both. I know he is. Hes gonna have to.
Merritt said that right now James Butler is the starting strong safety and Michael Johnson is the starter at free safety. New additions Sammy Knight and Kenny Phillips will be learning both positions.
Once the season comes along well start to weed it out and put the guys in their position, he said, but right now wed like for these guys to learn it all, both positions.