There will be a lot of focus on safeties throughout the lead-up to the 2016 NFL Draft. But that is with good reason. While Landon Collins improved over the course of his rookie season, he is still only one player, and he isn't at his best in flying around the field in coverage. The New York Giants need a player who can patrol the deep middle of the field, taking away deep passes and helping the communication on the back end of the defense.
Could Jalen Mills of LSU be a piece to help rebuild the Giants' secondary?
- Good size for a free safety to go with solid athleticism. Ran a 4.50 second 40 at the LSU Pro Day.
- Very smart player. Praised as a coach on the field by his teammates, constantly directing traffic and anticipating the play
- Can play in space, play the run, and is an effective blitzer
- Converted corner who played his first 25 games as a corner, was a full-time safety his junior year
- Plays well in zone coverages, and has a nose for the ball. Has seven interceptions and 18 passes defensed at LSU.
- A solid, but not spectacular athlete. He can cover ground but can get out-run
- Occasionally takes inefficient angles
- Will wrap up as a tackler, but doesn't deliver hits.
- Missed seven games as a senior after suffering a broken ankle before the season started. Durable before that, however, playing in every game his first three years
Big Board Rankings
CBS - 81st overall
Draft Tek - 70th overall
Does He Fit with the Giants?
This should be the standard answer for any safety prospect this year: Yes.
Mills is the kind of smart leader the Giants can use on defense, and his versatility would be great for Spags' defense. While Mills' isn't the most punishing defender, Landon Collins has that covered. Mills should have the ability to help defend the middle of the field and prevent the coverage breakdowns that have plagued the Giants' defense over the years.
Mills is a player I like.
In general, I like zone corners converting to free safety, and Mills' football IQ is apparent on tape. He clearly quarterbacks the Tigers' secondary and is often in motion toward the play before the play even starts.
The Giants obviously need safety help, and will likely try to add some in free agency, however, a player like Mills could potentially grow into a valuable member of the defense.