Jalen Mills Hails from Cornerback U

Ed Kracz

LSU has been crowned Cornerback U in a series produced by Sports Illustrated.

Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills, who is expected to transition to safety, this season had a hand in that ranking, but the Tigers have produced a long line of NFL corners.

Right behind LSU is Alabama with Florida coming in third.

Ten years of data was crunched to arrive at a point total with a number of factors used to determine the scoring system.

LSU finished with 103 points, Alabama 96 and Florida 71.

SI broke the safety position down and the top two teams flip-flopped, with ’Bama coming in first with 50 points to LSU’s 40. Florida remained in third, notching 38 points.

As for corners, Sports Illustrated listed several alumni from each school.

The first five on the list from LSU are:

Patrick Peterson (2011, fifth overall)

Tyrann Mathieu (2013, third round)

Jamal Adams (2017, sixth overall)

Tre’Davious White (2017, first round)

Morris Claiborne (2012, sixth overall).

Mills, who was selected in the seventh round by the Eagles in 2017, was ninth on the list.

He also played some safety in college after starting out as a cornerback.

The switch came during his junior year when a senior safety went down with an ankle injury. The next player up was a sophomore who, Mills said, wasn’t quite familiar with the defense, yet.

“(Other teams) were attacking him,” said Mills. “Coach asked me, he was like, ‘We’re going to put one of our freshman corners in, and you’re the only person on the defense who really knows the defense, so we’re going to put you on the back-side and just take care of the back-side,’” said Mills. “I think it was maybe my first or second play in, I caught an interception and the rest was history.”

LSU has a safety and cornerback in this year’s draft who could be taken in the first round – CB Kristian Fulton and safety Grant Delpit.

Alabama also has a highly regarded safety in Xavier McKinney, who could also be a first-round pick. Tide cornerback Trevon Diggs may be a second-round selection.

Meanwhile, Florida’s C.J. Henderson is considered a first-round talent at cornerback.

The first five players SI listed for Alabama were:

Mark Barron (2012, seventh overall)
Landon Collins (2015, second round)
Minkah Fitzpatrick (2018, first round)
Marlon Humphrey (2017, first round)
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (2014, first round)

SI points out that even though most of Barron’s career was spent at linebacker, removing him from the equation would not have made a difference in the school’s standing.

The first five for Florida looked like this:

Joe Haden (2010, seventh overall)
Matt Elam (2013, first round)
Vernon Hargreaves III (2016, first round)
Keanu Neal (2016, first round)
Major Wright (2010, third round)
Marcus Maye (2017, second round)