DB #28 Jalen Mills, Louisiana St.

6’0” – 196 lbs. – 4.60e

Started all thirteen games at cornerback as a true freshman, then another thirteen games as a sophomore, the Tigers’ bowl appearance being his first at safety. Started thirteen games again in 2014, twelve being at safety, and then another five of six games played as a senior, missing time with a leg injury. Listed height and bulk are both solid, with good musculature for a pro defensive back; might actually be a little bit smaller than the team’s website gives him credit for. Often shades over to defend against slot receivers in man coverage, rather than lining up with deep zone responsibilities; will pick up some backs when he’s working zones, but didn’t do much work against tight ends and may lack the size to handle that role. Despite his previous experience as a cornerback, isn’t very impressive in coverage. Gives opponents a pretty large cushion, perhaps to mask his average speed and burst. Nonetheless, allowed some receivers to run by him on film review. Can be a split second slow to react to breaks, allowing separation and yards after the catch. Was rarely in the in-phase when targeted during the games reviewed, making his ball skills difficult to evaluate; however, did record a handful of interceptions in college. As a deep safety, shows quick feet in his backpedal, but isn’t very rangy and looked consistently late to get to the sidelines. Willing in pursuit, but takes some pretty aggressive angles which cause him to be poorly-positioned for the tackle; also needs to do a better job of funneling players back inside where his teammates can make a play. When he gets there, however, is a pretty good form tackler who can break down in space and bring down power backs; refrains from attempting to torpedo opponents. Does a nice job of working his way through trash to get to the ballcarrier; uses his hands to avoid being engaged. Also rushes from a coverage spot on occasion, showing the ability to avoid blockers and cause trouble for opposing quarterbacks. The type of player who’s done a lot of different things on tape and whose overall technique and football IQ are impressive, but whose speed and range limitations will probably prevent him from becoming more than a rotational player. Despite his past experience as a cornerback, would probably be better-suited playing closer to the line, allowing teams to take advantage of his effective form tackling. Looks like more of a third-day pick, although it’s always difficult to find safeties and his resume may cause teams to reach on him in the third round or so.

Games watched: Auburn (’14), Notre Dame (’14), Alabama (’15)

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