Circle High graduate Jordan Phillips was taken by the Miami Dolphins in the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday night.
Phillips played collegiately at Oklahoma.
With the Dolphins, Phillips is a potential protege for Ndamukong Suh. And he makes the 305-pound Suh look small.
Phillips will likely be mentored by Suh, the All-Pro defensive tackle who signed a $114 million, six-year contract with Miami in March.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Phillips said. “I’m really looking forward to getting to know him and get around him and see how the vets work. The whole d-line, I think we’re going to be pretty dominant. I can’t wait to meet everybody.”
The choice of Phillips was unexpected because the Dolphins had more pressing needs at cornerback, linebacker and guard. Phillips was regarded as an underachiever at Oklahoma, where he developed a reputation as an ineffective pass rusher who gave an inconsistent effort.
He heard such criticism during the screening process for the draft.
“That came up a lot,” Phillips said. “I think it was just the system I was in. You'll see a lot more out of me coming up soon.”
Phillips played in a 3-4 scheme at Oklahoma, while the Dolphins use a 4-3. They’re intrigued by his untapped potential.
“You see the talent. You see the flashes,” general manager Dennis Hickey said. “Our job is to get him to do it on a consistent basis.”
Phillips started only 17 games in four years at Oklahoma, including 13 last year. He missed most of the 2013 season and required season-ending back surgery.
Athletic for his size, Phillips can do back flips, and in high school he caught four touchdown passes and averaged 23.5 yards on 17 receptions.
“I felt like I was the best pocket presence in this draft as an interior defensive lineman,” Phillips said. “I’m a great run stuffer.”
Coach Joe Philbin’s staff, monitoring the draft in second-floor offices at the team complex, was thrilled with the selection of Phillips.
“We almost had an earthquake up there with the defensive coaches trying to break down the walls, they were so excited,” Hickey said.
In the third round the Patriots picked Phillips' OU teammate Geneo Grissom, a 6-foot-3, 262-pound defensive lineman who also played some linebacker and tight end. Grissom played at Hutchinson High.
"We're not trying to turn him into a tight end," Belichick said. "If you didn't know he didn't play tight end, you'd say that was a pretty good workout for a tight end."