Now at safety, here’s what Jalen Mills brings to the table
6 August 2020 Eagles News
Every year, someone new comes into the team and ignites a change. For the Philadelphia Eagles this season, it’s not about a new addition to the roster, rather it’s a change of position.
Once a cornerback, Jalen Mills had some big moments for the Eagles. None bigger than his fourth down stop in the playoffs in 2017 against the Atlanta Falcons and Julio Jones. However, ever since he came to Philadelphia, fans have spoke about trying Mills at safety. In college, Mills was a safety for LSU. A more natural position for his skill set, Mills will not get his chance in the NFL.
Losing Malcom Jenkins there’s an opening next to Rodney McLeod. In fact, Mills played that hybrid safety role against the New England Patriots this season. In that game he gave up just 3 receptions for 11 yards. He lined up 13 times in the box, four times at the line of scrimmage and once at free safety. Here’s his explanation and thoughts after the game about playing at safety.
“I had fun that game,” Mills said. “I was around the ball almost every play. I think the biggest thing for me is always wanting to be around the ball, whether it’s getting a pass breakup, getting a chance to pick the ball off or make a tackle, blitz. I think that’s the biggest thing, trying to be a tone-setter and a game-changer. “
People will count out Mills for the not so great play at cornerback at times. But, this switch to safety comes at a perfect time for Mills. Not only is it a time to restart his career, at the end of the day, he’s more suited for this role.
Like he noted above, he likes being around the ball. He’s a player that likes to get down and dirty. When he’s in the box lined up against a run play, he’s going to shoot through the gap and run the back down.
And, matching him up against a tight end or slot wide receiver isn’t going to be a bad matchup either. It’s a completely different look than what he saw isolated outside. Playing a safety definitely plays to his strengths.
Jalen Mills: My experience at safety at LSU helps transition a lot. So does practicing against guys like Ertz and Wentz. … The communication part is toughest, making sure I'm on top of letting everyone else know what the call is. pic.twitter.com/eyx9Xadlqo
— Bo Wulf (@Bo_Wulf) August 6, 2020
A partnership of McLeod and Mills isn’t too bad after all. With those two potentially starting that leaves K’Von Wallace and Will Parks as too plays who can also come in based off of matchups and start if need be.
Rodney McLeod says he and Jalen Mills have been spending extra time together this offseason making sure they are on the same page and see the same things as a safety duo #Eagles
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) August 6, 2020
There’s just something about Mills at safety that just seems so much better. After all, he really wasn’t the worst cornerback, he just had a lot of trouble defending double moves. He’ll no longer see that anymore and now the whole field will be in front of him.
When the Eagles hit the ground running in September, Mills will be there in the box delivering big hits. He’s going to thrive in this new role and completely change the trajectory of his career.
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports