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Rookie WR Kyle Philips Working to Earn a Spot, and Make Plays, for the Titans


NASHVILLE – Kyle Philips grew up in Southern California, and he played football at UCLA, where he wore No.2.

The receiver now plays for the Titans, where he's teammates with a guy he watched playing for the Los Angeles Rams.

That player, Robert Woods, is now No.2 in Tennessee.

"Kind of crazy, huh?," Philips said of Woods. "Just growing up watching him play, and he was with the Rams with one of my good buddies (Terrell Burgess). … Now I am out here watching him, and learning from him. It's kind of crazy, really, but it's really cool."

Philips, selected in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, now wears No.18 in Tennessee.

His goal is to be on the team's 53-man roster, and helping the team any way he can, starting this fall.

"I know I have to prove I can win at the receiver position, whether that is blocking, winning at routes, contested balls," Philips said. "I just have to consistently win.

"I think most people underestimate me a little bit because of my size in regards to blocking. … I just try to do what I do, and just play ball."

Philips, a 5-foot-11, 189-pounder, won a lot at UCLA.

In four seasons with the Bruins, Philips caught 163 passes for 1,821 yards and 17 touchdowns. Philips had a reception in each of the last 29 games he played in and 35 catches in the last five games of the 2021 season.

During the offseason in Tennessee, he's already gotten the attention of those around him.

"Kyle's definitely a great route runner," Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "He's got some quickness, some agility, (and I'm) getting to learn his craft as he learns our offense and sees where he fits in.

"But definitely he's flashed for me a few times and (I've) seen some good things. So, I'll definitely keep the pressure on him as he learns what we're doing, and I think if he does that, he'll continue to make plays."

Titans receivers coach Rob Moore thinks the rookie has talent.

"He's starting to understand some of the fundamentals he has to develop, and how he's going to have to play in this league, in regards to being able to create separation and to be effective on a consistent basis, and those are things he is figuring out right now," Moore said. "But the kid has really good short area quickness and he has a lot of tools to build on."

Philips, taken with the 163rd overall pick, caught 59 passes for 739 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2021. He led all Pac-12 receivers with the 10 touchdown catches and he rated No. 2 in the Pac-12 in receiving yards per game (67.18) and No. 3 in the league in receptions per game average (5.36).

Phillips (5-11, 191) also averaged 22.6 yards per punt return this season, including an 82-yard touchdown scamper against Colorado. He posted 100-yard games against Fresno State (113) and Stanford (120) last year. He was named first-team All-Pac-12 as a receiver and was a second-team selection as a kick returner by the league's coaches.

Titans special teams coach Craig Aukerman listed Philips as one of the guys who will be in the mix in the return game.

"Kyle brings a lot of good things for us, and the one thing we liked watching him at UCLA is when he caught the ball, he would run and get vertical," Aukerman said. "There wasn't a lot of dancing around, trying to make too many moves. He was just going to catch it and go upfield."

Philips wants to get on the field any way he can.

In addition to Woods, he said he's also learned a lot from Nick Westbrook-Ikhine this offseason, and he regularly picks the brain of receiver Mason Kinsey.

When training camp begins later this month, and the pads come on, he'll work to prove himself.

"It's been good to get out here, learning the system as much as I can and play confidence and fast," Philips said. "I feel like the more you practice with these guys, the more you are in the playbook learning, the game starts to slow down a little. I am doing that as much as I can.

"When I got drafted I was like, 'Dang, the NFL.' But the next day it was like, 'Back to work, and try and earn a spot on the team' and that's what I am trying to do."

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