JC Jackson signing with the Chargers left a gaping hole in the Patriots’ secondary. In a league that is becoming more and more pass-dependent, having a strong secondary is a primary key to success.
Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr, Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, and Joe Burrow. Those are just some of the quarterbacks the New England Patriots defense will be playing in the 2022/2023 NFL season.
Patriots Search For A Top Cornerback
Last season alone, those five names accumulated over 150 touchdowns and 20,000 yards. Each name also made the playoffs, with Joe Burrow making it to the Super Bowl and Aaron Rodgers winning league MVP.
For the Patriots to succeed in the regular season, they will be forced to take on the tall task of stopping those five powerhouse offenses. As if the task wasn’t challenging enough, the Patriots will have to do so with one of the worst cornerback rooms in the NFL.
None of the cornerbacks currently listed on the Patriots roster (Johnathan Jones, Marcus Jones, Myles Bryant, Jalen Mills, Shaun Wade, and Jack Jones) have ever had a multi-interception season. In addition, the average number of individual player interceptions per season among these corners is .43, one of the lowest in the NFL.
In the recent past, conventional General Managers (so, not Bill Belichick) have turned to the free agency market to fix needed holes on their roster. But, as we saw in the latest NFL off-season, Bill Belichick elected to go a different route, signing only one cornerback throughout the off-season: Terrance Mitchell. Who was just released yesterday on the cut-down day
I believe that the player who can fix this desperate corner group is a familiar name that has been overlooked due to the greatness of former Patriot JC Jackson. That man is Jalen Mills.
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Understanding The Jalen Mills Situation
Jalen Mills will be entering 2022 following a year of little recognition. Besides the infamous CeeDee Lamb wave to Mills following an OT win against the Patriots, Mills found his name in very few news headlines or Tweets. Mills isn’t a traditional NFL cornerback who puts up jaw-dropping numbers and insane highlights that are sent across every social media platform known to man. Instead, Mills is a corner that gets the job done. Jalen Mills perfectly represents Belichicks’ famous “do your job” slogan.
Jalen Mills being the top corner on the Patriots may be more of a testament to the team’s weakness at the corner position than to Jalen’s talent. However, it will still be a phenomenal opportunity for the 28-year-old to show the 31 other teams that he can play with high expectations at the highest level of football in the world. This upcoming NFL season might be the most important one of his life, mainly because time is running out for him to show his life’s work and earn top-dollar for his great sacrifice and contribution to the game of football.
Jalen Mills 2022 Season Preview
Since Jalen Mills will be getting more opportunities to cover high-end receivers, I expect his numbers to jump impressively. But, as we said before, his numbers do not portray the entire story. Numbers aside, I hope Mills will transform his image across the league this upcoming season and, most importantly, be a significant factor in the defensive success this team will have in 2022.
Many individuals have expressed their concerns with the Patriot’s defense for the oncoming season, but I am not among that group. This defense was arguably the best in the league in the 2021 season, and I have a hard time believing that the loss of one player (JC Jackson) will negatively impact the defense in a sizable manner.
With the NFL season less than ten days away, keep Jalen Mills on your radar for a potential breakout season. Go, Patriots!
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