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2022 NFL draft scouting report: Alabama DT Phidarian Mathis

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Alabama DT Phidarian Mathis

6-foot-4
310 pounds

Yahoo Sports' 2022 NFL draft grade

5.62 — possible third- or fourth-rounder; contributor potential

TL;DR scouting report

Hard-working, hard-hat defender with a clear value who broke out in his final season but might not offer much in the way of pass-rush impact

The skinny

A 4-star Rivals recruit (No. 151 nationally) in the Class of 2017, Mathis committed to the Crimson Tide and redshirted during their championship season that year. He came off the bench in 15 games in 2018 to total 18 tackles and a fumble recovery. Mathis played in 12 of the 13 games in 2019 (starting two, missing one game) with 27 tackles (0.5 TFL) and one forced fumble.

In 2020, Mathis started six of 13 games and totaled 31 tackles (five TFLs), 1.5 sacks, three passes defended and one sack for the national champions. He came back in 2021 to start 12 of 15 games and total 53 tackles (12 TFLs), nine sacks, two batted passes, one forced fumble and two recoveries. Mathis competed at the 2022 Senior Bowl.

Alabama defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis (48) poses for a photograph during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Mercer, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Alabama defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis (48) poses for a photograph during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Mercer, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Upside

  • Ideal frame with breadth to handle interior rigors and absorb contact

  • Outstanding length — over 6-4 with 34 5/8-inch arms

  • Big (10 3/8 inches), strong hands to supply serious pop at point of attack

  • Displayed some explosiveness with broad jump (9-foot-1)

  • Generates surprising power in a phone booth

  • Uses his length to lock out blockers and toss them aside

  • More advanced hand technique than most defensive tackles

  • Does his job as a run stuffer — maintains gap integrity and anchors well

  • Improved backfield penetration in breakout 2021 season

  • Gets hands up to close down passing windows

  • Versatile enough to play multiple spots on the line (nose, 3-tech, 5-tech)

  • Grinder who does lunchpail work that supersedes box-score imprint

  • Permanent team captain at one of the best programs in the country

Downside

  • Not a high-end athletic specimen

  • Didn't perform running drills, bench press at NFL combine or pro day

  • Limited quickness, explosion and change of direction on tape

  • Vertical jump (23 1/2 inches) would be bad number for an unathletic offensive guard

  • Won't offer much pass-rush value at next level

  • Doesn't provide much playmaking range outside his tackle-box sphere

  • Bulk of his sacks, TFLs came on extra-effort plays

  • Saw favorable blocking assignments playing on talented Tide front

  • Inconsistent pad level — doesn't always get low and stay low

  • Likely a better fit in odd front/two-gapping role

  • Older prospect — turns 24 years old during draft week

Best-suited destination

We view Mathis as a dirty-work defender, perhaps best suited for two-gap duties. Although fewer teams run true 3-4 fronts these days, there is still a call for interior pluggers with high motors, so Mathis should get work in a rotation. This is not a Pro Bowl-caliber talent, but he's a functional, hard-working and semi-productive run stopper who could carve out a nice, respectable career for the next several years.

Did you know

Mathis wore No. 48 in college — an unusual number for an interior defensive lineman, but it was for a noble reason. His second cousin, Tyrell Cameron, whom Mathis considered more like a brother growing up, wore that number. A player for Franklin Parish (La.) High School, Cameron died on the football field after taking a hit on a punt return in 2015.

Mathis received the news after finishing his own game the same night 40 miles away but was too late to see Cameron before he passed. When Mathis committed to Alabama, he wore a shirt with "FP48" and held up pictures of his late friend during the ceremony and has worn that number ever since.

Player comp

Johnathan Hankins

Expected draft range

Rounds 2-3

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