Las Vegas Raiders Review: Darius Phillips

When the Las Vegas Raiders start the 2022 NFL season, they could have the deepest depth in their secondary in quite some time.

Cornerback Darius Phillips won’t be the first name fans think of for who can improve the Raiders’ defense, but he could prove to be an underrated addition this offseason.

A former fifth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018, Phillips didn’t play a big role upfront.

He started just two games in his first two seasons, playing a higher percentage of snaps on special teams than on defense.

Phillips showed he wasn’t one to waste opportunities in 2019, compiling four steals while playing just eight games that season.

In 2020, he finally received a significant role change, with Phillips earning consistent snaps for the first time in his career. He played in 12 games and started eight, finishing with 38 total tackles, one interception, 12 more pass breakups and two forced fumbles.

Phillips allowed just 51.7% of passes thrown his way to be completed, helping him finish as the 18th-ranked cornerback in Pro Football Focus in 2020.

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Unfortunately for Phillips, he had to step aside last season as the Bengals headed to the Super Bowl. He’s only been active for 12 games while Phillips has been on the injured list twice, not the first time Phillips has had to go to IR.

These injury issues were probably the main reason why he had to settle for a one-year contract this offseason.

With the Raiders, however, Phillips has the chance to get a fresh start and show he has what it takes to carve out a consistent role on a good defense.

Phillips will still have to earn it with silver and black, as fellow new additions Anthony Averett and Rock Ya-Sin will both be competing for the starting spots.

At the very least, Phillips will give the Raiders a luxury they haven’t been able to afford in recent years, namely having a depth of starting caliber to call upon in case injuries take their toll.

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