“They want me to come in and be a playmaker,” Phillips said.
“We got nice value and we got a need position as well,” GM Jerry Reese said.
The 6-2, 213-pound Phillips was the top-rated safety on New York’s board and the first safety taken. Phillips said he was plenty pleased to be selected with the final pick of the first round.
“To me it’s a blessing,” said Phillips, who posted seven interceptions during his three seasons with the Hurricanes. “A lot of guys want to go as high as possible, but they don’t fall into the situation that I did.”
“I didn’t think he would make it that far,” Reese said.
Phillips follows a long line of recent standout safeties from UM – Bennie Blades, Ed Reed, the late Sean Taylor and Brandon Meriweather.
Phillips, who suggested that Miami’s sub-par record last season hurt his draft status, said he’s very close with Giants WR Sinorice Moss from their days as Hurricane teammates.
In Phillips’ junior and final year at Coral Gables, he finished with 82 tackles, forced three fumbles and picked off two passes.
With Knight a lock to start at one safety spot, Phillips, who says he can play either free or strong safety, will battle incumbent James Butler and rookie standout Michael Johnson for the other opening.
“I’m not slow, I’m not small,” Phillips said. “I definitely feel like I’m going to come in and make an impact.”