There’s no doubt Clark Phillips III was dominant defensively while at Utah.

Utah’s highest-rated recruit in program history, Phillips III lived up to his billing out of high school. He was the best player on that side of the ball for the Utes in 2022, and was an important part of the Utes’ defense since starting as a true freshman in 2019.

He had 110 tackles, nine interceptions (four pick-sixes), 21 pass deflections and one fumble recovery over three seasons at Utah.

A unanimous All-American and the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2022, Phillips III was one of the nation’s premier cornerbacks.

Despite success at Utah, concerns about Phillips III’s size (5-foot-9, 184 pounds), coupled with a middling performance at the NFL combine, are prevalent.

Projected to be a Day 2 or early Day 3 pick, Phillips III ranks No. 8 (The Athletic) and No. 13 (ESPN and Pro Football Focus) among cornerbacks in the 2023 NFL draft.

Here’s a sampling of what some NFL draft experts are saying about Phillips III ahead of the 2023 NFL draft (April 27-29 in Kansas City).

Dane Brugler of The Athletic gave Phillips III the highest cornerback rating of the three main NFL draft sites.

“Overall, Phillips doesn’t have elite size or speed and needs to limit the big plays allowed, but his read-react athleticism, competitive instincts and ball skills will translate well to NFL coverage. He has the skill set of a playmaking nickel capable of seeing outside reps as well,” Brugler wrote.

The Ringer’s Danny Kelly likes Phillips III’s composure.

“Phillips is comfortable playing from both the outside and in the slot. He is patient at the line and never panics. He has extremely quick feet, skillfully mirroring receivers off the line before flipping his hips cleanly to stay connected to his opponent up the field. From off-coverage, he reads the quarterback’s eyes and is always ready to pounce on an underneath route, showing suddenness in his click-and-close to arrive at his target,” Kelly wrote.

However, Phillips’ size could “tip the scales in favor of bigger, taller receivers,” Kelly added. “He lacks size and ran slow at the combine, which could force a move inside (to the slot).

“Phillips may not tick the size and speed boxes some want to see, but he ticks the tape box. He earned an 86.3 coverage grade this past fall with six picks and four pass breakups,” Pro Football Focus wrote.

Justin Melo of SB Nation praised Phillips’ tape, calling studying it “an exhilarating process.”

“Phillips thrived while playing under the tutelage of highly accomplished head coach Kyle Whittingham, who possesses one of the best defensive minds in the nation. An explosive and dynamic athlete, Phillips developed into a complete cornerback with a high football I.Q. and ideal read-and-react skills across three seasons at Utah. Phillips’ ascension allows him to blend athletic traits with technical savviness. Phillips showcased consistent improvement at Utah, which insinuates he’s an ascending talent that will continue taking positive steps forward at the next level,” Melo wrote.

He singled out his lack of size, writing “Phillips punches well above his weight class, but opposing NFL teams will occasionally find success by forcing him to play through contact, or by locating mismatch opportunities at the catch point against bigger, longer receivers.”

Where is Phillips III projected in mock drafts?

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Second-round, pick 36, Los Angeles Rams.

Josh Edwards, CBS Sports: Second-round, pick 43, New York Jets.

Luke Easterling, Athlon Sports: Second-round, pick 50, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Walter Cherepinsky, Walter Football: Second-round, pick 62, Philadelphia Eagles.

Eddie Brown, The San Diego Union-Tribune: Third-round, pick 69, Los Angeles Rams.

Dane Brugler, The Athletic: Third-round, pick 76, New England Patriots.

Chad Reuter, NFL.com: Fourth round, pick 104, Houston Texans.

Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, ESPN: Not in latest three-round mock draft.