2021 NFL Draft: 5 injury-risk players 49ers should avoid
By Peter Panacy
No. 2: EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami
If the 49ers’ 2020 season was defined by injuries, then perhaps no other position was highlighted more than the defensive line where EDGEs Nick Bosa and Dee Ford went down early in the year with season-ending injuries of their own.
Bosa is expected to be back after a Week 2 ACL tear, but Ford might miss most of 2021 with a back situation. He could miss the entire year, too.
True, the Niners added former Los Angeles Rams EDGE Samson Ebukam during the offseason, but grabbing another outside pass-rusher would probably be a good idea.
But if the target is Miami EDGE Jaelan Phillips, San Francisco should think twice.
Phillips has first-round potential after finishing 2020 with eight sacks and 15.5 tackles for a loss following his transfer from UCLA. And his 6-foot-6, 260-pound frame is built for good burst and possesses a nonstop motor that’s been relentless.
The problem, though, is Phillips has been dogged by various injuries for most of his collegiate career, including a troubling history of concussions. He suffered one his freshman year and then another in 2018, while also dealing with both wrist and ankle injuries.
Yet the 49ers should be leery about those concussions, particularly if his aggressive style of play winds up risking more chances of suffering another at the pro level.
Even if Phillips somehow slips into Round 2, perhaps the Niners should steer clear.