Adrian Phillips, S, Chargers
Age: 26 (will be 27 in March)
If Justin Simmons is the Broncos’ free safety going forward, then this team is going to need a player who can play a more full-time role in the box or attacking downfield as a tackler.
That is something that has been missing since the team made the difficult decision to let go of T.J. Ward a couple of years ago for financial reasons.
Phillips, for my money, has developed into one of the best tackling safeties in the game. He has started a handful of games for the Chargers every year for the past four years, and posted a career-high 94 tackles this past season with four tackles for loss. He also added nine pass breakups, a forced fumble, and an interception.
Though he’s not known for his coverage skills, Phillips is one of just eight safeties in the NFL to miss only one tackle on run plays (Justin Simmons was the only safety not to miss a single tackle in that category).
Pairing Phillips with Simmons would give the Broncos one of the best run-stopping safety duos in the league, but would this value be worth what they might lose on the back end in coverage?