Jalen Mills entered LSU’s Pro Day with a lot to prove to prospective NFL teams.
For one, he felt running a faster 40-yard dash would open up a lot of doors, including one that would show he could play more positions than just safety or nickelback.
Mills improved that time from 4.61 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine to 4.48 on Monday, which earned him rave reviews from many of the NFL teams in attendance.
“Today I ran in the 4.4s and in my drills I felt explosive. I showed my quickness and ball skills as well,” Mills said. “I felt I was able to get my legs under me. A lot of NFL coaches told me I look phenomenal. I got the big ups I was looking forward to.”
Mills’ progress came after an outing at the NFL combine in which he was held back — to a degree — by the simple fact that the drills took place over a series with so many distractions.
That set the stage for Pro Day, where the former LSU cornerback wanted to improve his time in the drills, which he felt would also show he can play safety or cornerback.
“The combine was a long, drawn-out experience with a lot of meetings and a lot of physicals,” Mills said. “A lot of guys say they can play all the positions, and then they run slow. That was a big emphasis for me to run faster in my 40. A lot of guys that say, ‘he’s just a safety or just a nickel.’ Now they know I can play cornerback or in the middle of the field from hash to hash.”
The work is far from over.
After finishing his drills Monday, a winded Mills believes he has a long way to go to improve his conditioning before he lands with an NFL team.
Mills, who was the only defensive back participating in drills during the Pro Day, took note of his fatigue afterwards.
“For me, I need to get in way better shape,” he said. “The coaches said I was in good shape, but I was winded, which I don’t like to feel at all. After talking to the coaches, I want to try and step up my game and try to get better, which I wanted to try to do no matter what.”