According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. (subscription), the Indianapolis Colts will select Miami edge Jaelan Phillips and Texas offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi in the first and second round respectively of the 2021 NFL Draft in his new mock draft 4.0:
21. Indianapolis Colts
Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami
With my first-round offensive tackles all picked, Indianapolis should address its pass rush, even if it does bring back Justin Houston. Phillips might be the best pure pass-rusher in this class, but he needs to improve his all-around game. He also has some durability concerns — he had multiple concussions at UCLA before he transferred to Miami — which means his medical checks with teams are extremely important.
54. Indianapolis Colts
Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
The Colts haven’t had much turnover this offseason — other than, you know, the quarterback switch with Carson Wentz in and Philip Rivers out — but one of their biggest losses was at left tackle, where longtime starter Anthony Castonzo retired. They added Julien Davenport as a swing tackle option, but they’re likely to draft a tackle as well. Cosmi played both left and right tackle at Texas, and he looked like a future top-15 pick in 2019. I also think he could easily slide in to play guard. This pick is good value.
Regarding Phillips, the 6’5”, 254 pound pass rusher recorded 45 tackles (21 solo), 15.5 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks, an interception, and 3 passes defensed for the Hurricanes defense in 10 starts during 2020—earning Second-Team All-American and Second-Team All-ACC honors.
At his recent Miami Pro Day, Phillips tested out insanely well regarding his physical measurables—featuring a 9.9 RAS out of a maximum of 10.00:
Jaelan Phillips is a DE prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.9 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 14 out of 1345 DE from 1987 to 2021.
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 29, 2021
As arguably the most polished pass rusher in this draft class already—showcasing an arsenal of pass rushing moves, Phillips would be a Top 10 pick—if not for a number of injuries throughout his collegiate career (including a lengthy concussion history):
he’s the most gifted edge rusher in the draft
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) February 17, 2021
Phillips evaluation reminds me so much of Montez Sweat. Everyone knew he was a top 5 talent. There were other concerns that you needed to feel comfortable with. Some teams were ok with it and others weren’t. Sweat has turned out to be a HR for Washington. pic.twitter.com/gQ8gyHLeHS
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) March 29, 2021
Jaelan Phillips is the most advanced/well-rounded pass rushing prospect in this #2021NFLDraft class
Pass Rush Plan
High Side – Bend/Corner
Speed to Power
Awareness – Retraces/Flattens
Sub 3-Tech Alignments
Violent, Active Hands
Change of Direction
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) February 20, 2021
— DLineVids (@dlinevids1) November 14, 2020
Back to back Jaelan Phillips pass rushes pic.twitter.com/2SrQNxmJgi
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) February 17, 2021
Really liked seeing these three plays from #Miami EDGE Jaelan Phillips. All in the first quarter vs. Virginia Tech.
Creativity is already there as a pass rusher and even though he’s lanky, he’s physical as a run defender. pic.twitter.com/TGvwjHQFiF
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) December 11, 2020
His durability going forward remains a critical concern.
However, at this point of the draft, the Colts could roll the dice on his immense talent and potential—with a significant need at pass rusher.
The Colts lost starting defensive end Denico Autry in free agency (and could lose veteran Justin Houston soon too), and while the team signed Isaac Rochell and re-signed Al-Quadin Muhammad, the team lacks an ‘alpha dog’ pass rusher right now.
If Phillips can stay healthy for the Colts, he could become that and figures to be an instant impact pass rusher from the get-go—even as a rookie.
However, having already been snake bitten by injuries on 2017 first round pick Malik Hooker, Indianapolis could elect to avoid going down this road entirely.
Meanwhile, Texas offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi is one of the best ‘Tier 2’ offensive tackle prospects in this year’s loaded tackle draft class.
The 6’5”, 314 pound offensive tackle made 35 straight starts for the Longhorns—with 21 of those starts at left tackle.
He started the first 8 games of the Longhorns’ 2020 season before foregoing the remainder to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft—but still earned First-Team All-Big 12 honors.
Like Phillips, Cosmi tested incredibly well at his recent Texas Pro Day—with a pristine 9.9 RAS out of a potential 10.00:
Samuel Cosmi is a OT prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.99 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 2 out of 1119 OT from 1987 to 2021.
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 28, 2021
Moving well for his size, Cosmi excels as an athletic pass protector with length, quick feet, strong hands, and would fill a massive hole left by Anthony Castonzo’s recent retirement:
Samuel Cosmi career at Texas
Pass-block snaps: 1,162
QB sacks allowed: 4 pic.twitter.com/lC2tF15ORP
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) June 11, 2020
Sam Cosmi: Highest pass-blocking OT in the Big 12 this season (89.4) pic.twitter.com/Ii4zZIPAEg
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) November 29, 2020
As a run blocker, Cosmi also uses angles well to wall off defenders and has the quickness and athleticism to get to the second level of opposing defenses. Still, he needs to work on his play strength at the point of attack, as he’s not going to maul/overpower most defenders—although he can play physical.
His overall technique could also use some refinement.
That being said, like other top offensive tackles in this draft class, he’d be a natural fit in the Colts’ zone-blocking scheme. In that regard, the Colts could prioritize him on their draft Big Board more than other offensive tackle needy NFL teams:
Violent snatch & finish from Cosmi pic.twitter.com/KFC6uTPzQb
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) February 9, 2021
Cosmi vs. a 215 pound LB trying to play on the edge pic.twitter.com/UJsQyy9xBG
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) February 9, 2021
Only power five OTs with 85+ run and pass blocking grades:
Samuel Cosmi, Texas
Christian Darrisaw, VA Tech pic.twitter.com/VNzlgnFflr
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) December 8, 2020
Honestly, landing both Phillips and Cosmi would be a ‘home run’ draft scenario for the Colts because it would fill the team’s two biggest holes this offseason with a pair of top prospects at each’s respective position.
Phillip’s injury history is a cause for concern.
However, if the Colts medical staff is confident that the injuries are safely behind him (and that they can preserve his health), then selecting both of these talented draft prospects would go a long way towards improving next season’s squad.