LSU is widely known as “DBU,” and its top departing defensive back has now joined notable Tigers alumni in the NFL.
Jalen Mills was selected No. 233 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft on Saturday.
The 6-foot, 196-pounder started the first 39 games of his four-year college career before being forced to overcome injuries to return to the field.
Mills, a DeSoto, Texas, native, was a stalwart in the Tigers’ secondary since arriving on campus. His freshman season in 2012, Mills earned 13 starts at cornerback and finished fourth on the team in tackles (57), adding two interceptions and five pass breakups.
He started 13 games as a sophomore, intercepting a team-leading three passes while also notching three sacks and 67 tackles, good for third on the team.
During his junior campaign, Mills shifted over to safety, where he started 12 games, as well as one at nickel. The position change reduced his number of interceptions, but he still managed five pass breakups and three tackles for loss.
Mills suffered a broken ankle before his senior season, which cost him the first five games. He returned and finished the year with six starts.
Injuries weren’t the only obstacle the defensive back was forced to overcome during his time in Baton Rouge, La.
Mills was charged with second-degree battery. He was accused of allegedly punching a woman, but the charge was eventually dismissed in December 2015. However, NFL teams have asked Mills about the incident.
Mills fielded those questions at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he impressed with a 4.61 40 and a 37-inch vertical jump.
Weeks later, Mills improved that 40 time to 4.48 at the LSU Pro Day, and showed explosiveness during his position drills. That led NFL scouts to view the ex-Tiger as both a safety and a cornerback, depending on where he landed.
Mills’ impressive combine and Pro Day performance certainly helped boost his stock, almost negating the toll that injuries and off-the-field concerns had.