Oct 26, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Rice Owls cornerback Bryce Callahan (29) is congratulated by cornerback Phillip Gaines (15) after Callahan intercepts a pass during the third quarter against the UTEP Miners at Rice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Phillip Gaines has come out of nowhere as one of the top cornerbacks in this year’s draft class. He definitely looks the part of an NFL cornerback since he stands 6′ tall and weighs in at 193 pounds. Physically, the only knock on him is that he could gain some weight to help him with tackling and durability.
But that weight gain would come with a price. Gaines lit up the combine after running a 40 yard dash in 4.38 seconds, finishing the 3-cone drill in 6.62 seconds, and completing the 20 yard shuffle in 4.04 seconds. If those numbers don’t mean much to you, let me put it in layman’s terms for you: that boy is fast. Those times were the fastest times in the category and showed off his blistering speed.
Gaines was a four year starter at Rice and a two year captain. His leadership and willingness to learn and get better is one of his best traits. However, he may be a tough fit for a lot of teams because of his struggles to tackle and play man coverage. The team that drafts him will take him because of a specific skill set in zone schemes and blitzes.
Here are his statistics over 5 years at Rice:
Oct 31, 2013; Denton, TX, USA; North Texas Mean Green running back Antoinne Jimmerson (22) scores a touchdown against Rice Owls cornerback Phillip Gaines (15) during the first half at Apogee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
50 games played
134 solo tackles
175 total tackles
11 tackles for a loss
38 passes defended
1 forced fumble
2 defensive touchdowns
- Blazing speed
- Excels in zone schemes
- Hard worker
- Willing to learn and develop
- History of injury
- Needs help in run support
- Weak tackler
- Struggles in man coverage
Fit For The Vikings
Minnesota lacks a lot of depth at cornerback. They should add one or two in this year’s draft.
Phillip Gaines may have amazing speed, but he’s not a complete cornerback. That’s not to say that he won’t get there, but Minnesota will be looking for a player who is able to be versatile in schemes and duties. Sadly, Gaines is not that man.