The Patriots are providing early hints on how they plan to make use of Jalen Mills of their reworked secondary


Jalen Mills will probably be shifted over from his typical spot at outdoors nook throughout the 2023 season.

The Patriots held practice at their Gillette Stadium practice field. Jalen Mills catches a pass
Jalen Mills has been shifted all around the depth chart up to now throughout the Patriots’ OTA classes. John Tlumacki/Globe Employees

Changing Devin McCourty within the Patriots’ secondary is a activity simpler stated than performed.

However shortly after the longtime Patriots captain hung up his spikes in March, cornerback Jalen Mills took to social media to vouch for some reps at McCourty’s typical spot at security.

Primarily based on what we’ve seen up to now throughout the Patriots’ organized workforce actions (OTAs), Invoice Belichick and New England’s teaching employees heard Mills.

Despite the fact that Mills has primarily operated as an outdoor cornerback throughout his first two seasons in Foxboro, the 29-year-old defensive again has been shifted all around the depth chart up to now throughout the closing stage of the NFL offseason.

A majority of Mills’ snaps throughout OTAs have both come at security or whereas lining up as slot nook, a large shift from his earlier function.

To date, it looks like the Patriots are working on a “by committee” method to changing McCourty.

Together with the present safeties on the roster like Kyle Dugger, Jabrill Peppers, and Adrian Phillips, New England has additionally handed 2023 third-round choose Marte Mapu (a linebacker at Sacramento State) some reps on the place this spring.

“It’s actually on [the coaches],” Mills stated of his shifting function on the Patriots’ roster. “Guys within the secondary, we come out within the huddle. I could be on the market with Pep and Dugg, and so they’re like, ‘Hey Mills, go to nickel this drive.’

Or they could be like, ‘Hey, go get on a good finish this drive.’ … So I feel it’s simply, we discuss concerning the versatility of fellows with the ability to play each totally different factor.”

Jonathan Jones inking a two-year contract extension this offseason does give New England much more choices with secondary personnel. Jones has spent most of his profession with the Patriots as an efficient slot nook, however was moved to the surface in 2022.

To date throughout OTAs, each Jones and first-round choose Christian Gonzalez have remained as outdoors corners, with Mills shifting between slot nook and security.

Mills’ place shift stands as the most recent transfer in what has been an fascinating offseason for the defensive again. Whereas it was initially reported in March that the Patriots had been going to chop Mills to be able to save cap area, they ultimately restructured his deal right into a one-year contract that may let him hit free company in 2024.  

Mills and the Patriots are on the lookout for a clear slate in 2023, particularly after the veteran missed the ultimate six video games of the 2022 marketing campaign resulting from a nagging groin harm.

“Right here with the Patriots, all the things is a bit bit sudden,” Mills stated. “However when your quantity’s referred to as, it’s important to be prepared.”