Rookies in Focus: Jordan Mills

Steve Palazzolo breaks down the rookie-season performances of offensive tackles selected in the 2013 NFL draft.

| 3 years ago

Rookies in Focus: Jordan Mills

Our offseason rookie breakdown started with the first round edge rushers and now it’s time to take a look at the other side of the line. Offensive tackles came off the board at a furious rate, with the 2013 draft perhaps as unique as any in recent history.

Here’s a look at the first round offensive tackles, with a couple other mid-round starters and even an undrafted free agent mixed in. This is by no means a definitive draft grade on any of these players, just a one-year look at their role and production, and perhaps a look forward to how they might improve.

[click to: comparison graphics | Eric Fisher | Luke Joeckel | Lane Johnson |
D.J. Fluker | Justin Pugh | David Bakhtiari | Jordan Mills | LaAdrian Waddle]


Round 5, No. 163: Jordan Mills, Chicago Bears

rookie-OT-inset-millsRole: 16 starts at RT

The Bears’ right side consisted of two rookies as Mills paired with first round guard Kyle Long. It was a rough first season for Mills who gave up more pressures than any other offensive tackle in the league. He wasn’t much better in the running game, perhaps not surprising for a fifth round pick.

Pass Blocking

Grade: -32.5
Pass Block Snaps: 640
Total Pressures: 78
Sacks: 3
Hits:  13
Hurries: 62
Pass Blocking Efficiency: 90.2

Despite surrendering only three sacks, Mills gave up far too much pressure off the edge. While the Bears system often encourages the offensive tackle to ride his the defender deep past the pocket, Mills simply lost control of his man far too often. We need not look far to see better displays of pass protection in a similar system, whether looking at LT Jermon Bushrod on the other side or one of our better graded right tackles in Zach Strief in New Orleans. Mills finished last among all tackles with his -32.5 grade while his 90.2 PBE finished ahead of only Arizona Cardinals OT Bradley Sowell.

Mills giving up too much ground on the outside:

Mills Gives up Outside vs. Willie Young

Kiwanuka to the Outside

Mills Gives up the Outside Pressure to Kerrigan

And often to the inside as well:

Kiwanuka Spin Move vs Mills


Run Blocking

Grade: -5.5
Run Block Snaps: 382

Mills was hit or miss in the running game, often allowing too much penetration or failing to get a push on his man. He did manage to post positive grades in eight of his 15 games with extended playing time, but most were rather average efforts. Many of his seven negatively-graded games were similarly average, but he did have a few duds mixed in there.

Mills gets handled in the running game:

Mills Run Game

Mills Run Game2


Final Word

After an encouraging preseason effort, Mills struggled for the majority of his rookie campaign. The Bears will head into the season with him entrenched as the starter at right tackle, but he’ll need to improve as both a pass protector and as a run blocker in order to ensure his long-term future.


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| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • DaBearMan

    Hoping for a Brandon Fusco-esque improvement from Mills

  • Josh

    I think this discussion highlights two things:
    1.) PFF might be too liberal with their use of the term “Hurry”
    2.) The grading of such an ambiguous term is too rigid to give an accurate measure of pass blocking ability.

    I am not arguing that Mills struggled at times, but PFF listed him as the worst Tackle because of their “hurry” grade. That leads me to believe that the grading of such hurries is inherently flawed and should probably be reassessed if this site actually wants to garner any real credibility.

    These are some of the indictments of PFF and more generally sabremetric sites, which PFF is the most notable.

    Aaron Kromer (Bears OC): “Well, that was a hurry and it made the quarterback move.’ That can be a design of the offense. There are plenty of those that were pluses for us in our grades when they gave him a minus.”

    Eric Winston: “I do know however in the Seattle game, PFF had me down for 8 or 9 hurries I believe but my coaches had me down for 2 or 3. Well let’s look at the first problem: what is a “hurry”. Is it forcing the QB to step up because of short corner? Is it a forced throw? Is it moving the QB of his “spot”? My point being advanced stats get into murky waters due to the lack of universal definitions.”

    Perhaps a better measure than the rigidity of the hurry grade now, would be to adjust (and test) the value of moving a QB off his spot different than that of a forced throw or a QB stepping up.

    As it stands I’d agree Mills suffered at times, but he was far from being the worst tackle in the league last year.

    • Ryan

      Mills was awful last year.

  • Henry

    I think Josh hit the nail on the head. I recall a PFF article entitled “Jermon Bushrod: Upgrade or Side Step?” where they ask the question is Bushrod an upgrade over J’Marcus Webb. It concludes “Right now this appears to be a marginal upgrade (over for what appears to be a fairly large free agent contract.”

    Any Bears fan will tell you based on a simple eye test that Bushrod really solidified our o line. Furthermore J’Marcus Webb is a free agent without a home. However, the PFF grading doesn’t reflect this. As Josh suggest, something is amiss here. Unfortunately, I believe that most of the in depth PFF grading analysis is proprietary, so we may never learn what fundamental flaws exist in the 2013 and 2014 data. Hopefully they can continue to evolve.

    All in all though, I love this website!

  • Henry

    I wrote this to PFF prior to the 2013 season…

    I see PFF at the interface of traditional statistics analysis and scouting. I know PFF celebrates the fact that “WE ARE NOT SCOUTS” but nonetheless both scouting and statistical analysis are about player evaluation. As a Bears fan I have paid close attention to PFF’s analysis of Jermon Bushrod. There seems to be a healthy debate as to whether Bushrod is a significant upgrade to J’ Marcus Webb. PFF analysis suggests there is only a marginal improvement. Quite interestingly, Phil Emery had cited PFF as a tool that he used in his evaluation of the Bears offensive line prior to the 2012 season. In spite of his prior reliance of PFF analysis, he signed Bushrod to a lucrative contract. I think it’s fair to say that Phil Emery disagrees with your analysis. What are the reasons for this? Who is right? I’m interested to see how next season plays.