Giants: 3 amazing stats to know about Andru Phillips

Sep 30, 2023; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats defensive back Andru Phillips (23) (New York Giants) celebrates an incomplete pass intended for Florida Gators wide receiver Ricky Pearsall (1) during the second quarter at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants bolstered their secondary on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft, taking defensive backs back-to-back in Round 2 and Round 3. While their second-round choice in SAF Tyler Nubin has received plenty of praise, the Giants’ third-round selection, Kentucky CB Andru Phillips, has flown under the radar.

Phillips is a physical cornerback who has posted elite statistics throughout his playing career thus far. Here are five amazing statistics to know about the Giants’ new nickel cornerback.

Andru Phillips is an excellent run-defender: 23 defensive stops in 2023

Tennessee wide receiver Squirrel White (10) is tackled by Kentucky defensive back Andru Phillips (23) during a football game between Kentucky and Tennessee at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023.
Tennessee wide receiver Squirrel White (10) is tackled by Kentucky defensive back Andru Phillips (23) during a football game between Kentucky and Tennessee at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023. Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK Credit: Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

According to Pro Football Focus, Phillips tallied 23 defensive stops in 2023, ranking first among all SEC cornerbacks. He finished the season with a total of 47 tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss in 12 games.

Damian Parson of The Draft Network listed Phillips’s “toughness in run support” as one of his top strengths in his scouting report:

“Run support is questionable with plenty of CBs but not Andru Phillips,” Parson wrote. “He is a willing and ready participant to spring into action to help out close to the line of scrimmage. He quickly squeezes and leverages gaps, not surrendering the outside/perimeter easily. Phillips plays with unteachable effort. His pursuit of the football to attempt touchdown-saving plays from behind the play.”

Phillips is an explosive athlete: 42-inch vertical jump

Phillips performed well during the athletic testing at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine. He posted an above-average relative athletic score (RAS) of 8.13, including an elite composite explosion grade. Phillips’s 42-inch vertical jump and 11-foot-3-inch broad jump ranked tied-fifth and fourth, respectively, among all participants at the event.

The Giants can move Phillips inside and out

Nov 18, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Xavier Legette (17) makes a touchdown reception over Kentucky Wildcats defensive back Andru Phillips (New York Giants) (23) in the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports Kentucky
Nov 18, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Xavier Legette (17) makes a touchdown reception over Kentucky Wildcats defensive back Andru Phillips (23) in the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports Kentucky

The Giants will likely move Phillips inside to nickel cornerback due to his size limitations (5-foot-10, 190-pounds). However, he demonstrated an ability to play both inside and out throughout his collegiate career.

Over his last three collegiate seasons, Phillips played on the outside on 542 defensive snaps while lining up in the slot on 415 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus (h/t Giants.com). He has demonstrated that he possesses the physicality necessary to play on the inside, but also the coverage capabilities to play on the outside.

The Giants drafted a physical and versatile defensive back in Phillips with their third-round draft choice. As Big Blue aims to rebuild its secondary, Phillips should see immediate playing time as a rookie and could develop into a long-term building block in the defensive backfield.

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