Jalen Mills   S/CB   LSU

Jalen is playing safety for his college team, but the truth is that for the NFL, he is more of a cornerback who has the same smart, style of play as Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman (see 2011 THR archives). As a safety, he shows the cover skills, size and length to shut down those big pass catching tight ends in the slot. As a safety, he is quick to come up and make a tackle in the open field against the run. As a safety, Jalen shows on film solid hands to catch the ball for the interception. As a cornerback, Jalen is very smart, using the sidelines as an extra defender. He has those long arms and legs that give him a significant defensive radius. Jalen is a very smart zone coverage corner and an excellent and physical bump and run corner. Due to his football intelligence, Jalen is the type of player you can build your defensive backfield around. He can play more than one position and play them all at a very high level for the team that selects him. Jalen can play in zone coverage anywhere on the field and will excel in a matchup zone concept. He will also shine in the red zone in man-to-man coverage. He is ready made defensive back for the team that selects him.

Jalen has some make-up speed and a burst, but is “more quick” than fast and can get beat deep if he loses his techniques and concentration against those smaller, faster receivers. Although Jalen is a willing tackler, he is not a form tackler and until he uses the correct tackling techniques, he runs the risk of injuries to himself and others. The thought of wrapping up a player securely and not diving head first into a player seems to elude Jalen in his thinking process, which is a shame. He better learn fast or he will be on the sidelines wishing he had learned faster.

The truth is Richard Sherman is more smart and skillful than talented. Jalen has more talent to cover than Richard and is as skilled. So you tell me if you could draft Richard Sherman today, what round would you select him in? That’s right -- the 1st round and yet he is not a great physical cover corner, but he is a smart and skillful cover corner. Jalen can play inside or outside because he is smart and will tackle in the open field and is quick to come up from his safety position to defend against the run. I haven’t seen a cornerback that uses the sidelines as an extra defender as well as Jalen does coming out of college in a long time. He literally manipulates receivers off their routes and into the sidelines so that if they do make extra yardage after the catch. He is excellent at high pointing a pass and stealing it away from a receiver before they can get their hands on the ball. When receivers go over the middle he trails them and uses his long arms to knock down passes and he still seems to always have that extra something to make a burst on the ball when it is in the air. I like players who can play more than one position at a high level and Jalen meets those criteria…easily.

Drew Boylhart  FEB.2016