The departures of Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh have the Detroit Lions seeking defensive tackles, and the team met with a potential first-round target at the position Tuesday.
Oklahoma's Jordan Phillipsvisited with the Lions and could be a viable pick when Detroit selects 23rd overall.
Detroit acquired Haloti Ngata in a trade with Baltimore last week and signed free agent Tyrunn Walker, but the Lions still would seem to need another tackle.
Phillips (6-foot-5 1/4, 329 pounds), who left OU with two seasons of eligibility remaining, is an impressive physical specimen. But he started for just one season at Oklahoma and missed almost all of the 2013 season with a back injury that required surgery. Phillips, from Towanda, Kan., is a former national top-50 recruit out of high school.
Phillips definitely has the size and athleticism needed to stand out at the next level. But even considering his back issue, he was inconsistent in 2014. Phillips is No. 42 on NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah's list of the top 50 players.
"For such a massive man, he doesn't generate much pocket push with his bull rush," Jeremiah says. "He comes out in a lot of passing situations and (Oklahoma's) scheme doesn't let him attack very often. Overall, I think Phillips doesn't make a lot of plays, but he has tremendous upside because of his size/strength/quickness. He needs some time to develop."
Some analysts feel Phillips fits best as a nose tackle, but he told detroitlions.com he can play any tackle spot: "I'm very versatile. It's just really whatever the team sees fit for me. I can do anything."
All six NFL Media analysts who have done mock drafts have Phillips going in the first round; two of them -- Charley Casserly and Charles Davis -- have the Lions taking him at No. 23, and the other four have him available when Detroit makes its selection.
Detroit also would seem to be in the market for a running back, and the Lions had Georgia's Todd Gurleyin for a visit on Monday. Taking an offensive tackle with the No. 23 pick also would seem to be a possibility.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.