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Houston Texans sign Scottie Phillips as undrafted free agent

Scottie Toddy got your money, Bill O’Brien.

Mississippi v LSU Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images

Scottie Phillips, former Ole Miss running back, has signed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent, he announced shortly after the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft.

By way of Jones County Junior College, Phillips stepped into a lead running back role as a junior in Oxford and took off running, literally. In his first game as a Rebel, the 5-foot-8, 211-pound Ellsville, Miss. native torched the Texas Tech defense for 204 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. His hard-nosed running style and sturdy, compact frame is similar to that of Ray Rice and he will have a real opportunity to make his mark in a backfield in need of balance. When Phillips gets the ball in his hands, he can run through defenders or blow by them with deceptive home run speed.

His quiet demeanor is all business and there is no excuse for a lack of hard work. The time in the weight room paid off and he led all running backs in the bench press at the NFL combine. Phillips may be small, but he sure is strong.

“Nothing comes easy, just comes from hard work,” he said in a pre-draft interview with WDAM 7. “Chose to go to a junior college– it just made me work harder, so it just made me who I am today.”

What does he do well?

Phillips only played in only 21 games due to minor injuries that hindered his production toward the tail-end of both seasons. Despite missing the last two games of the season as a junior, he ranked fifth in the SEC with 14 total touchdowns and third in the conference with 12 rushing touchdowns.

He began his senior year with two 100+ yard games in the first three games, but as an ankle injury nagged, he had his carries distributed to a committee. Nonetheless, he averaged 5.3 yards per carry over two years and showed an incredible burst into the second level.

His patience, vision and shiftiness are the three key attributes that make him an instinctive runner who can be a handful to bring down. Phillips stacks powerful, firm-planted moves to evade potential tacklers and hit a cutback lanes hard. When he gets to the edge he is a very comfortable outside runner and is fluid in space.

Where does he fit in?

Phillips will not be an every-down back in the NFL right away, but the Texans did not take a running back in the 2020 NFL Draft.

His size isn’t typical of a running back in today’s game and he only caught 18 passes as a Rebel. That notion doesn’t bode well for him as an every-down back, at least right away. However, he showed sure hands in his small sample size at Ole Miss and is extremely productive in pass protection. Phillips added good combine numbers and hits holes with a fervor that could prove valuable as a strong RB3 behind David Johnson and Duke Johnson Jr. early in his career.

Bill O’Brien and his offense got a great undrafted running back with more upside than risk.

Hear from the experts:

CBS Sports NFL Draft writer Josh Edwards —

“I have a seventh-round grade on Scottie. I like him as a role player because of his speed. He actually has good vision and is springy in the way that he attacks gaps. His pass production is limited, so that, and his size. will probably prevent him from being an every-down back that warrants being taken earlier in the draft.”

NFL.com analyst Maurice Jones-Drew —

“Phillips was inconsistent at Ole Miss, but showed a lot of promise when he was on. When he flashed, the 5-8, 209-pounder showed great burst, was explosive and was a sure-fire threat out of the backfield.”