5 early defensive possibilities for the Vikings in the 2023 NFL Draft
By Luke Parrish
Clark Phillips III – CB (Utah)
The only way this defense will get better against the pass is by adding more and more talent to the coverage department. Clark Phillips III might just be the best pound-for-pound corner in the class and would be an immediate upgrade in the slot.
After watching this team struggle in the secondary for a few years now, I do not think there is any room to question whether or not a nickel cornerback is worthy of a first-round selection. If a player is comfortable and dominant in that role, then he is worth the selection.
Phillips is a smaller player, but he plays so much bigger than his profile suggests. He was the leader of a Utah secondary that has been one of the best in college football over the past few years.
He is a physical man-to-man defender that is trusted to make plays regardless of where he lines up on the field. Phillips consistently reads the quarterback, cuts passing lanes, and sticks in the hip pocket of his matchup to make life miserable for opposing offenses.
Size will be the main factor in Phillips not being the first cornerback off the board in April’s draft. If he continues sliding down the board, the Vikings would be out of their mind to pass on his talent and upside.