Patriots Jalen Mills joins NFL All-Star practice squad


Jalen Windmills

The New England Patriots haven’t made a ton of headlines with their off-season acquisitions and moves in 2022. There’s still a slim chance the team could make a standout trade or rush to sign a big name coming out soon, but for the most part all is quiet on that front as we are only weeks away from the start of training camp on July 27th.

As the players prepare for the 2022 season, Patriots defensive back Jalen Mills is doing a big job of preparing physically.

A recent B/R Gridiron video has gone viral showing Mills training with Detroit Lions running back DeAndre Swift, Cincinnati Bengals star and reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Ja’Marr Chase as well as Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back and Patriots free agent target Léonard Fournette. The four players were doing interval workouts on the treadmill side by side.

Mills deserves credit for his momentum, but is he the answer to one of the starting cornerback positions for the Patriots?

Do the Patriots need an upgrade at CB?

Mills was a solid starter for the Philadelphia Eagles during his time there, and he had his moments with the Patriots in 2021.

However, he’s not exactly the ideal candidate alongside Malcolm Butler in New England. The Patriots would like to see rookie Jack Jones emerge as a legitimate contributor to training camp and the preseason. Jones was drafted in the fourth round from Arizona State, where he was an honorable mention All-Pac-12.

He has all the tools to be a successful cornerback in the NFL, and he could be a big boost to the Patriots secondary if he can develop quickly. Mills is still the favorite to start against Butler, but Jones will push for playing time and could end up winning the job before long.

Although the situation for the cornerback is not ideal, the safeties seem solid

The Patriots corners have something to prove in 2022, but expectations are high for the safety group. Led by a veteran in Devin McCourty and a third-year player in Kyle Dugger who looks set to establish himself as a star, the Patriots should be in good hands on the last line of defense.

McCourty re-signed with the Patriots for a year, $9 million in March. The 34-year-old is entering his 13th season in the NFL and is coming off a year in which he played in all 17 games, had 3 interceptions, 10 passes defended and 60 total tackles. McCourty has proven he can still compete at a high level in the NFL and will be a key part of the Patriots defense in 2022. There’s a chance McCourty could retire after the 2022 season, but for now , he remains an important part of the team.

After an impressive second season in the NFL, Dugger is set for a breakthrough year in 2022. The young safety has proven to be a playmaker for the New England Patriots, recording 4 interceptions, 92 tackles and 5 passes defended. Dugger has the rare combination of size, speed and instinct that makes him a valuable asset in the secondary.

He has the ability to not only make plays on the ball, but also step up and sustain the run. Dugger is expected to be a key contributor to the Patriots’ defense next season, and he has the potential to become one of the best safeties in the NFL.

If corners do their part, the Patriots secondary could be a major strength for their team.

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