Jalen Mills will have an important role in 2020. It’s so important, that he’s actually No. 14 on our list of the most important Eagles for the upcoming season.
But how is he getting ready for his new position?
Well, he’s watching the guy who played it last.
Mills on Monday was a guest on the Philadelphia Inquirer’s LIVE at Lunch and was asked how he’s preparing for his new role as a safety after four years in the NFL as a corner. The short answer: He’s been watching plenty of Malcolm Jenkins tape.
“The biggest thing for me is I think the mental part,” Mills said. “Because I’ve been in the defense for four years. That’s a blessing. It’s not like I have a new defensive coordinator, I’m on a new team. I think the mental part and just really watching, honestly, everything Malcolm did on film from last year and the years before that. Because as you guys know, he did everything right.”
In his six seasons with the Eagles, Jenkins was a three-time Pro Bowler, played multiple positions and rarely left the field, so there was plenty of film for Mills to study. Jenkins is back in New Orleans for 2020 after signing with the Saints.
What did Mills take from Jenkins’ tape?
“Him just doing his job, not reaching and trying to do somebody else’s job or trying to make a play that’s not his play to make,” Mills said. “But once it’s his play to make, he’s making them.”
While Mills has been a cornerback during his four years in the NFL, he did play some safety in college. And the Eagles got a glimpse of him in a hybrid role last year against the Patriots, when he played all over the field. It was his best game of the 2019 season.
Back in March, not long after Mills signed a 1-year deal to return, he talked to John Clark about the target on his back as he tries to take over Jenkins’ old spot.
In 2020, Mills will also have a new number. He’s going from 31 to 21, switching numbers along with positions.
“It’s just something new,” Mills said to the Inquirer. “I think the biggest thing is starting something fresh. 31 did what he had to do, won the Super Bowl there. Now it’s time. New position. Like I said before, just recreating myself. This is the best offseason I’ve had, I feel the best I ever have. Just recreating myself and just knowing the potential I have and the things I can do at this position.”
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