Inquiring Minds: Can Jalen Mills truly get the job done?


So far, Jalen Mills’ camp has been a microcosm of his first season.

There’s no other way to say it. The Philadelphia Eagles need Jalen Mills to grow up in a hurry. This has nothing to do with his maturity. If you’ll remember, it was once believed that Philadelphia was rolling the dice when they selected Mills with the 233rd-overall selection in round seven. We can all probably put any character concerns to bed. He’s been a model citizen and a good teammate.

Now, on to football. Mr. Mills has to take the next step and do so quickly.The Eagles acquired Patrick Robinson in the off-season, and to make long stories short. That isn’t going too well. He’s been burned a few times. He even had a hard time keeping up with a practice squad player from 2016, David Watford, who didn’t even play wide receiver at the collegiate level.

The battle is on.

From everything we’re hearing the slot corner role is Ron Brooks‘ spot to lose. Which means the Eagles are still in desperate need to find two starters. Aaron Grymes has looked good, but he’s done so mostly at the nickel position as well. Bummer. That means Mills, at this point is in the lead to be slotted in as the first corner on the depth chart once the preseason games begin.

Mills, to this point, looks a lot like the guy we saw a season ago. He’s looked good at times, breaking up passes and looking good in coverage. He’s looked a little lost at times. He was taken to school by Alshon Jeffery and seemed a step slow as he’s been left a time or two. The second year vet is serious about his craft though. He’s been leaning on his teammates a lot

Here’s a recent quote:

"I have a lot of smart guys around me, like Jenkins, (Rodney) McLeod and learning from Nolan (Carroll) and (Leodis) McKelvin last year has made me a better player. I benefitted from listening to those guys and not being the big-head rookie who thinks he knows everything. From the last game of the year against Dallas until today, I’ve been texting Malcolm. Last night we were talking football. Over the break (from mini-camp), when I was training in Texas and Malcolm was here in Philly, we were talking about football. I want to learn more from them, and the more that I know, the more comfortable I’m going to be on the field."

His teammates trust him, particularly Malcolm Jenkins.

"Jalen has my trust. I see the potential for Jalen Mills to not only be good in this league, but to be great. I see the need for us for him to be great. What proved to me he wants to be great is his willingness to ask questions. I never went to him, he sought me out. And his willingness to work is something else I like. He’s very coachable. He’s hungry and thirsty to get better at everything, whether it’s tackling, press technique, scheme, he wants to be an expert at all of it. To me, that’s what usually separates players in this league. It’s not athletic ability. It’s about players wanting to get better at their game. That’s Jalen."

That’s good enough for us. As it stands now, it appears Mills and rookie Rasul Douglas are in the driver’s seat. We’ll see how both continue to develop as camp approaches.