3. Jalen Mills
Devin McCourty’s offseason departure opened up a gaping hole atop New England’s safety depth chart. One way that Belichick & Co. are attempting to fill it in is by converting veteran cornerback Jalen Mills to a safety role.
It can be hard for any player to change positions — especially for a 29-year-old veteran like Mills. The good thing is that the DeSoto, TX native didn’t look out of place at safety against Houston.
Mills made his biggest play of the night during the first quarter when he intercepted Texans QB C.J. Stroud, who was targeting wideout Tank Dell. It was an important takeaway as the Patriots wound up scoring a field goal on the ensuing drive.
Along with his interception, Mills also recorded three tackles (two solo) and even defended a pass. If you didn’t know he spent the majority of his career as a cornerback, you’d assume he was a natural safety.
Will Mills perfectly replicate McCourty’s impact on the field? Probably not, but he doesn’t have to. The Patriots just need a safety who plays consistently and rises up to make plays when need be.
As long as Mills can be competent in that role, there’s no reason to believe that he can’t be a starting safety this fall.
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