Will Clark Phillips follow mentor Jaylon Johnson's path to Bears?

Will Phillips follow mentor Johnson's draft path to Bears? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

INDIANAPOLIS -- Clark Phillips III never shared the field with Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson at Utah. Phillips arrived in Salt Lake City as Johnson was heading to Chicago.

But the Utah product always planned to follow Johnson's path to the NFL.

"Most definitely," Phillips said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine when asked if he had a relationship with Johnson. "We talked occasionally in the offseason. He came down to Utah last year before his season. We watched a little bit of film. We studied a little bit. I got to show him a couple of things I watched about his film when he was at Utah. Practice, in games. He's a good dude.

"He's super-focused. Great technique. He's somebody that was a mentor for me when I went to Utah. He's somebody that I looked up to because I wanted to do the plan he did. Three years and out. Here I am today."

Phillips doesn't have the prototypical size you look for in a lockdown corner at the NFL. He's only 5-foot-10, but he's an elite playmaker with excellent ball skills.

Size aside, teams will be jumping at the chance to select Phillips in the later part of the first round or early on Day 2.

He's a tough, smart cornerback who is internally driven to be great.

"I like to get interceptions like Xavien Howard," Phillips said when asked who he models his game after. "I play with the ferociousness that Jalen Ramsey plays with, the technique that Jaire Alexander plays with, and the versatility that Kenny Moore has.

That sounds like a guy the Bears could use in their secondary alongside Johnson and last year's second-round pick Kyler Gordon.

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Unfortunately for the Bears, Phillips likely will be gone by the time they go on the clock late in the second round. Perhaps the eventual trade return for the No. 1 pick will net them a second-round pick that can bring Phillips to Chicago.

Given the Bears' mountain of needs outside the secondary, it seems unlikely they'd use a high Day 2 pick on a corner. Edge rusher, defensive tackle, offensive tackle, and wide receiver all are more pressing needs.

But Phillips is a rare breed.

Phillips has impressed several teams in his meetings at the combine. He had an informal meeting with the Bears this week and hopes to have another one.

Phillips has followed the path carved by Johnson to this point. But the Bears will need some things to go their way if they want Phillips to share a secondary with his mentor from Utah.

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