Rookie Jalen Mills Continues to Impress at Eagles Camp
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz brought in a pair of corners, Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks, that he was familiar with this offseason. Currently, both sit at the top of the Eagles unofficial depth chart, but the position is wide-open opposite McKelvin.
Schwartz has already indicated that McKelvin is the top guy, but one name to watch is rookie Jalen Mills, who showed up as the back-up corner, ahead of 2015 second-round pick Eric Rowe on the first release of the unofficial depth chart.
"He's a physical guy, he moves well, he's sharp," Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said about Mills recently at training camp. "He's learning Coach Schwartz's system back there and he's putting himself in a position to help us tremendously."
“You know, what I like about him is he's very competitive," explained Schwartz. "He comes back and he doesn't shy away from contact. He doesn't shy away from matchups. You need that in a corner.”
Then, Schwartz added this intriguing statement.
"It does show that we want to see him match up against some of the different wide receivers," the defensive coordinator stated. "You could read that into it."
Mills has earned more first-team reps at Eagles camp than Rowe and is competing with competing with Nolan Carroll and Ron Brooks for snaps, but the fact that Schwartz has virtually admitted that he wants to see how the rookie handles himself against better competition is a good sign for the seventh-round pick.
But make no mistake about it Mills is ahead of Rowe and the coaches have taken notice.
"At this time he is, yes," Pederson admitted when asked if Mills was ahead of Rowe on the depth chart.
"I just think every day he comes to work," Pederson continued when discussing that the rookie has shown in camp. "The aggressiveness in his style of play, he’s got a lot of PBUs [pass breakups] and he’s got hands on the ball. He’s willing and eager to want to be in that position. So, everything that I have seen from Jalen is definitely thumbs up. I just look forward to these games now with him."
While each player has a good shot at getting some consistent playing time, currently it looks like Brooks will get the first shot, with Nolan Carroll entering in nickle situations and Brooks sliding into the slot.
So where does that leave Mills?
"They're all going to be judged on the same thing," Schwartz said about a week ago.
"All of them are in a little different spot, all of them have different strengths, different weaknesses. One of the things for us in training camp, is trying to find that best combination of guys and use them in the best way. So he's no different than anybody there."