Originally this seemed like it was a three-man race between Harrison Phillips, Vernon Butler and Vincent Taylor. However, over the past week it seemed like that battle expanded with the team signing Tanzel Smart and Justin Zimmer. They also waived defensive tackle Niles Scott but didn’t really expect to factor into the battle for the starting job.
While the battle seemed to expand, there also seemed to be some clarity on one key unknown that could have a drastic impact on the battle. This week Harrison Phillips talked about the journey back from his ACL injury, both the physical and mental aspects of the rehab.
The good news is that all that hard work has paid off and Phillips is full cleared from his injury and ready to go. This is tremendous news for the third-year player and he should be considered the favorite to earn the starting job.
He certainly appeared to be on his way to taking the starting job last year before the injury with such a strong start to the year. If Harrison Phillips can return to playing at that level, this defense should not see much of a drop in performance from this position.