Eagles Go With Jalen Mills, Alex McCalister In Seventh
The Eagles are not shying away from players with question marks in their past.
In the fifth round they selected West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood, who was accused of intimidating a witness in a fatal shooting case in 2014. According to the Delaware News Journal, prosecutors dropped the charges against Smallwood after his friend plead guilty to second-degree murder.
In the seventh round, they chose a pair of players with potential character concerns.
With the 233rd overall pick they went with LSU defensive back Jalen Mills. Mills was arrested for second-degree battery of a woman in the summer of 2014. The charges were reduced to a misdemeanor and eventually dropped after completion of a pretrial diversion program. From the Times-Picayune.
Mills was arrested in June after a woman who claims he punched her outside his Highland Road apartment picked him out of a lineup.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge October.
The alleged victim, who is 5-foot-3 inches tall and weighed 113 pounds, told police she was briefly knocked unconscious and received four stitches to her lip for her injuries, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Mills’ attorney Brent Stockstill, however, had denied the alleged vcitim’s account, saying it was actually Mills’ girlfriend who threw the punch and that the victim gave multiple conflicting accounts of what happened.
“We got a chance to talk to him at the Senior Bowl, again at the Combine. He gave us his version of the events. We investigated it like we do everything. He’s got to prove himself as he gets here,” said Roseman. “We were satisfied with the investigation that was done down there in Baton Rouge and with the university. We think we know what kind of kid this is, but again, he gets here and he’s going to have to prove it here.
“We forget sometimes that these guys are college kids and things happen, and we were comfortable enough with the set of circumstances that we were described that we thought that it was worthwhile to give him a second chance here.”
Florida defensive end Alex McCalister, the 240th pick, was dismissed from the team for an unspecified violation of team rules this past season.
The Eagles seem to be taking some risks in hopes of hitting on upside.
“The biggest factors to us was not having as many picks in the early going as we used to so we felt like later in the draft, taking shots on guys in the seventh round, really having the best undrafted process we ever had, became a priority to us,” said Roseman.
Mills played both corner and safety at LSU, finishing with 216 tackles and six interceptions over four seasons. He fractured his fibula this past August but returned to play the final six games. From NFL.com:
Four-year starter from deep, talented conference. Has slot cover ability. Hips are loose and he’s able to open and mirror receivers from press. Uses crisp, controlled footwork out of his transitions. Locates the deep pass and can turn to make plays on the ball. Very aware from zone and handles his responsibilities without many busts. Good blitzer from the slot.
Thin-waisted with a finesse frame.Takes iffy angles to the ball and isnt as committed in run support as evaluators would like. Was not a productive tackler near the line of scrimmage. Mix and match traits might have him caught between slot corner and free safety. Lacks desired speed to carry vertical threats. Shows some confusion on combo routes.
McCalister was a four-star recruit coming out of high school. He posted 6.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for a loss this past season despite playing only nine games because of a foot injury.
He was suspended prior to the team’s Bowl game. Roseman would not say exactly why.
“I think that when you talk to Alex, being at Florida, being able to talk to people who are around that program and him, without getting into specifics, it was a different circumstance than the other ones we’re talking about here. It wasn’t legal,” said Roseman. “He is a kid that, he needed to grow up a little bit, but he’s not a bad person, not a bad kid.”
Roseman said that applies to all three of the draft picks.
“We don’t feel like we brought any bad people in here,” he said. “We feel like some of them have made mistakes but they are not bad people.”
Added Pederson: “The past is the past, history is history — that’s why they call it history — and you really have to dive into each person individually,” said Pederson. “The personnel side and the scouts that are out there every day, they are the ones that are diving into the backgrounds of these players. We just coach them up once they get here. We explain to them exactly how business is run here, obviously it starts with myself and then the assistant coaches can help in that process, but we know that guys could be flawed in their past but coach them up and point them in the right direction.”
The Eagles went with Oregon inside linebacker Joe Walker with their final seventh-round pick. From NFL.com:
Surprised some NFL scouts with solid workout at his pro day. Adequate play speed on tape. Uses hands well to punch and shift around blockers to stay clean. Square scraper with good lateral agility and quickness to flow to outside with run play. Plays under control. Productive tackler who rarely takes shortcuts and plays his role. Gets good depth in his drops has some cover ability in space.
Undersized for the middle. Needs more play strength. Will struggle to take on blocks and maintain gap leverage in pros. Has issues getting over top of seal blocks. Lack of twitch limits reactive quickness against shifty runners. Doesn’t fired downhill with bad intentions often enough.