Del’Shawn Phillips is a 24 year old, 6’2”, 230 pound linebacker out of the University of Illinois. Phillips was originally signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2019. In five preseason games with the Falcons Phillips made 18 tackles, broke up one pass, and recovered two fumbles. He was cut by the Falcons in August 2019, then was signed by the Buffalo Bills to their practice squad in October 2019. Phillips signed a reserve/future contract with the Bills in January 2020, and made his NFL debut against the Jets last September. He suffered a quadriceps injury in that game and twice went on injured reserve. Buffalo waived him on January 19, 2021. Phillips has played in just two NFL games. He has 14 NFL snaps, all on special teams.
In college Phillips led the Illini in tackles in both 2017 and 2018 and also led the defense in 2018 with four interceptions. He was voted a team captain in 2018 and was named All-Big Ten honorable mention. Phillips had a fairly impressive Pro Day, exhibiting speed and explosiveness. He posted a 4.59 40 yard dash, a vertical of 37”, a broad jump of 10’1”, and 20 reps on the bench press. Phillips is clearly a depth piece at this point, and may not make the team. However, the Jets are very thin at linebacker. A young, hungry player with speed and athleticism like Phillips might have an opportunity to carve out a more significant role here with a strong training camp.