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Viking draft thermometer: CB Clark Phillips III

11/12/2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, United States; Utah Utes cornerback Clark Phillips III (1) warms up before a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Vikings Draft Thermometer series, PurplePTSD‘s one stop shop for all your 2023 NFL Draft needs. In this series, we’ll examine a number of prospects ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, what exactly their role might be at the NFL level, and most importantly, whether or not they could end up playing their first NFL pick one Viking uniform. With that, let’s take a look at today’s prospect: Utah CB Clark Phillips III.

background

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10/15/2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, United States; Utah Utes cornerback Clark Phillips III (1) reacts during a second quarter game against the USC Trojans at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
  • Height: 5’9″
  • Weight: 190
  • School: Utah
  • Games Watched: Ohio State (2021), Florida (2022), USC (2022, regular season), USC (2022, PAC-12 championship)

statistics

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11/12/2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, United States; Utah Utes cornerback Clark Phillips III (1) warms up before a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
  • 2020: 25 tackles, 2 TFLs, 2 pass defenses, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery (5 games)
  • 2021: 61 tackles, 1 TFL, 13 pass defenses, 2 INTs, 1 forced fumble (14 games)
  • 2022: 24 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 sack, 6 pass defenses, 6 INTs (12 games)

Strengthen

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Oct 8, 2022; Pasadena, California, United States; Utah Utes cornerback Clark Phillips III (1) on the field during the second quarter against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Despite his small size, Phillips played the majority of his collegiate career at the outside cornerback spot. I have my doubts this will continue in the NFL, but we’ve seen players like Duke Shelley thrive as minor CBs on the outside.

In addition to the versatility he could offer, Phillips has excellent ball skills. He’s a former receiver and it shows on the field. He’s intercepted a paltry six passes in 12 games in 2022, and he threatens to make a big game every time he steps onto the football field.

Finally, he displays extreme physicality whenever he is on the field. He not only embraces the contact, he seeks it. This makes him a menace as a blitzer and someone who can interrupt a pass at any point in the catching process.

weaknesses

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Dec 19, 2020; Salt Lake City, Utah, United States; Utah Utes cornerback Clark Phillips III (8) runs back an interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Washington State Cougars at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

In a 2023 draft class full of CBs with outstanding length and size, Phillips just isn’t. That will limit his potential as an outside cornerback and therefore his draft stock heading into spring. The Utah product also needs to ensure that while physicality can be a good thing, he’s not too rough on receivers at the point of catch. There have been a few instances where he has been flagged and given up significant yards.

NFL projection

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Dec 12, 2020; Boulder, Colo., United States; Colorado Buffaloes wide receiver Daniel Arias (6) runs the ball against Utah Utes cornerback Clark Phillips III (8) during the second quarter at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sportsffd
  • Draft Round: Late First – Mid Second
  • Immediate role: nickel corner
  • Best Scenario: CJ Gardner-Johnson
  • Viking’s train temperature: 75

Clark Phillips III is currently a very popular pick for the Vikings in NFL mock drafts. It makes sense considering Minnesota certainly needs a quality player at nickel cornerback right now and the youth in general among their starting defensemen. It’s far too early to call a prospect a “favorite” to end up with a team, but Phillips will likely be picked around the time Minnesota is on the clock.

Viking draft thermometer: CB Devon Witherspoon

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of the College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. He also earned minors in history, human biology, and journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys training for marathons, playing video games, and cheering for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. You can find more of his opinions on his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.




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