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2019 Buffalo Bills scouting report: defensive tackle Harrison Phillips

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The second-year space-eater looks to improve upon what was a good, not great, rookie year

Carolina Panthers v Buffalo Bills Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills lost a massive amount of leadership this offseason when veteran defensive tackle Kyle Williams retired. While his immediate replacement on the field was drafted this year in the first round, there is no replacing him in the locker room.

In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we look at a player many fans assumed to be the direct heir-apparent to Williams last season. While this player may have a similar disposition, and he may well develop into a similar leader one day, his skill set is entirely different than that of Williams.


Name: Harrison Phillips

Number: 99

Position: DT

Height/Weight: 6’3” 307 lbs.

Age: 23 (24 on 1/25/20)

Experience/Draft: 1; selected in the third round (96 overall) by the Buffalo Bills in the 2018 NFL Draft

College: Stanford

Acquired: Selected by Bills in 2018 NFL Draft


Financial situation (per Spotrac): Phillips enters the second year of his rookie contract, a four-year pact worth a total of $3,342,040, of which $775,040 is guaranteed. In 2019, Phillips carries a cap hit of $802,760.

2018 Recap: Phillips slotted in as a rotational defensive tackle, as expected, during his rookie season. While he has a body type similar to that of Kyle Williams, his role in the defense is actually that played by Star Lotulelei—the “one-tech” role—where he spends his time eating space for other players. Phillips played 389 defensive snaps (38.36%), which was only 86 fewer snaps than Lotulelei. Phillips combined for 35 tackles, including two for a loss, during his time on the field. He had four quarterback hits and a fumble recovery, as well.

Positional outlook: Phillips is firmly in the top-four of the defensive-tackle rotation, along with Oliver, Lotulelei, and fellow returner Jordan Phillips. Kyle Peko, Robert Thomas, and L.T. Walton round out the grouping.

2019 Offseason: What a fantastic person Phillips seems to be. He collected signatures from fans for Ezra Castro, better known as Pancho Billa, when he passed away earlier in the spring. He also is set to host a football camp for special-needs and at-risk youths. Phillips has participated in all offseason activities to date, as well.

2019 Season outlook: Phillips is just one of those guys that, no matter what happens or where he is, you just have to root for him. I, for one, feel lucky that he’s on the Bills’ roster. He’s a tremendous worker with tremendous character who fits very well within the defense head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier prefer. I expect that he’ll build on his solid rookie year—one where he outperformed Lotulelei on the stat sheet—in continuing to become the player the Bills drafted him to be. Phillips will absolutely be on the roster come September, and hopefully for many years to come.