Tyre Phillips Is a 'Big Country' Blocker Looking to Fill Big Shoes

Tyre Phillips runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine

Marshal Yanda was a country boy who grew up working on his parents' farm in Iowa. His potential successor, Tyre Phillips, is a different kind of country boy.

When virtually meeting with the Ravens media for the first time, new rookie offensive lineman Tyre Phillips wore a gold chain that read "Big Country," which is a nickname he's held since high school.

"I'm a country boy. I'm from Mississippi – Grenada, Mississippi," Phillips said. "A lot of people ask me what I hunt, and I say, 'If it can crawl, I'm going to skin it, gut it, cook it.' No matter what it is – opossum – it doesn't matter."

Phillips is a 6-foot-5, 331-pound road grader who the Ravens selected with the final pick in the third round – the compensatory pick they received for losing C.J. Mosley last offseason.

General Manager Eric DeCosta said Head Coach John Harbaugh was "really excited about the pick" and the Ravens were on a mission to get Phillips in the third round.

"If I had to say one guy that Coach Harbaugh was really a sponsor [of] … the scouts liked him, we did a lot of work on him, but Coach Harbaugh saw this guy back in January or February and really kind of became enthralled with his ability in our offense," DeCosta said.

"He's a guy that's got size and physicality and strength and natural leverage and different things. He's an underrated athlete. We think he has a really good chance to kick inside at guard and be a player for us."

Phillips started his college career at East Mississippi Community College, aka "Last Chance U," and the same school where former Ravens pass rusher Za'Darius Smith also cut his teeth. Phillips was one of the top transfer prospects in the country and opted to stay home at Mississippi State, where he eventually took over as the team's starting left tackle.

The Ravens were on the lookout for college tackles who projected well inside, and Phillips fits the bill. He has a massive frame and gets major knock-back in the run game. His lateral movement is the question, but a move to guard would help negate some of those struggles.

Baltimore wanted a bully in the trenches to replace an all-time bully in Yanda, and the Ravens found one.

"My style of play is tough, aggressive and just mean, just nasty, just good-old-down-south, Mississippi-style football," Phillips said.

"I was the starting left tackle at Mississippi State, so I have the tackle footwork and I have a guard body. So, I'm going to bring in a big ol' athletic guy into this organization that is smart, can learn the playbook and learn schemes."

The comparison that NFL.com's Lance Zierlein gave to Phillips is D.J. Fluker, who was released by the Seahawks two days after the draft and reportedly agreed to a deal with the Ravens soon thereafter. Phillips and Fluker are both big, long-armed maulers, and Fluker could help teach the rookie the ropes.

If Fluker does sign, they and rising sophomore Ben Powers will be the top options to step into Yanda's big shoes. Nobody will measure up to Yanda, but the Ravens can't afford to have a weak link at right guard either. Phillips said he's eager to compete with whoever for the spot.

"He's a legend, future Hall of Famer, but humbly, I still want to go in and fill in that spot like nobody ever left," Phillips said. "Just pick up where I can, pick up where he left off."

First, it will take a transition for Phillips, who said he had never played guard before doing so at the Senior Bowl. DeCosta mentioned that Phillips impressed the Ravens while in Mobile, Ala.

What makes the transition inside more difficult for Phillips is that here won't be a traditional offseason to allow him plenty of practice reps. Phillips will get virtual coaching and won't see live action until potentially training camp.

"I don't feel like it would be a tremendous transition. It's just getting in, getting the work and learning the system and just play what you know how to do," Phillips said.

"I only took guard reps at practice at Mississippi State, so it's going to be new. But it's still work and football. You still have to block the man in front of you."

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