The Philadelphia Eagles selected LSU defensive back Jalen Mills with one of their seventh round picks (No. 233) in the 2016 NFL Draft. We've already profiled Mills, but I thought it would be useful to acquire an insider's insight as well. In order to learn more about the Eagles' defender, I reached out to SB Nation's LSU Tigers blog: And The Valley Shook. Billy Gomila (@ATVS_ChefBilly) was kind enough to answer questions about Mills.
1) What are his strengths?
"Jalen played every secondary position at LSU over his four years, from corner, to nickel to both safety spots. What's more, he was kind of just thrown out there as a true freshman when Tyrann Mathieu was kicked off the team, and managed to acquit himself relatively well. He's a smart, experienced player that is very rarely caught out of position."
2) What are his weaknesses?
"He's probably better off as a safety than a corner, as he'll struggle at times in single coverage. The issue there is that he's a little thin side for an NFL safety, so there may be some concerns as to how he'll hold up. He's definitely not an elite athlete, and going to have to get by on his wits and knowledge of scheme, but that worked out well for him in college."
3) Are you surprised Mills fell to the seventh round? Where did you expect him to be drafted?
"It's hard to know exactly. He struggled with injuries his senior season, but that was kind of anomaly for him. Still, not sure how that showed up on a medical report. He had the off-field issue as well, but it seems to me that other players with issues went over him. He's not the most amazing athlete from a testing standpoint, but it's not like he was that far down. It was surprising, to be honest. Maybe it was his lack of special teams experience -- although that was largely because he was too valuable on defense."
3) Mills has experience at multiple positions in the secondary. Is he especially good at any position?
"I would guess he'll start out on special teams like most low-round picks, but I could see him getting on the field in nickel/dime sub packages early on. From there, his best position in the NFL is likely safety, where he can hover over the top."
5) What was LSU’s reaction to Mills’ arrest in 2014 for second degree battery of a woman? To what extent are Mills’ character concerns legitimate?
"Les Miles followed his usual practice of suspending the player indefinitely until the matter is adjudicated, or at least least the charges are reduced. I would hate to down-play a domestic violence accusation, but it was a pretty big outlier in Mills' time here. The story never really made a lot of sense, and a witness claimed that Mills had gotten in between two women trying to break up a fight, which led to the charges. But overall Mills was a leader and a pretty well-respected program player. I'd be surprised if he had any more trouble in the future."
6) How do you see his NFL career playing out?
"I really think he could do well in the pros. I don't know that he'll ever be a star or a pro-bowler or anything, but I could easily see Mills have long and productive career as a starter, similar to former Tiger safety Ryan Clark, who played for the Washington Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers, and even picked up a Super Bowl ring in the process."
Thanks again to Billy. Make sure to check out And The Valley Shook.