With the Buffalo Bills re-signing Jordan Mills this offseason, he will get another chance to prove he can be the team’s right tackle long-term.
Last season didn’t go as planned for Buffalo Bills‘ starting right tackle Jordan Mills. Although the year was a disappointment, the team re-signed him to a two-year contract and is — as of right now — the team’s starting right tackle once again.
Obviously, that can still change by the start of the regular season, but it would require either using a high draft pick — which could be salvaged for another need — or signing a veteran free agent — which wouldn’t give the team a lot to choose from. Not to mention, their cap space isn’t working in their favor.
Ultimately, I see the Buffalo Bills adding someone in the draft, but I don’t think it will be a player that will come in and immediately take the job from Mills. I believe it’s the best route for the Buffalo Bills that could turn out giving them two very capable tackles for the future.
Jordan Mills‘ journey with the Buffalo Bills began in 2015 when he was pick up off waivers halfway through the season. He wasn’t expected to be a starter at all, but was thrust into that role when teammate Seantrel Henderson was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Mills would end up filling in and starting five games that season, playing well enough to earn him a starting role in 2016.
In 2016, he didn’t show the same promise that was seen in 2015. With Henderson still recovering from surgeries and still struggling with Crohn’s disease, the Bills were left with Jordan Mills and Cordy Glenn at tackle, with Cyrus Kouandjio, Ryan Groy and Michael Ola to back them up. Glenn held his own last season, but Mills struggled.
Here, just take what Pro Football Focus had to say about Mills following the end of the season:
"If Buffalo could find an answer to their right tackle issue, this line would vault up the rankings in an instant. Jordan Mills surrendered eight sacks and 57 total QB pressures over 596 pass-blocking snaps this season, fourth-most of any tackle in the game."
Those numbers aren’t satisfying at all and screams an upgrade at the right tackle position. Because of that, Jordan Mills will have to show a lot of improvement this offseason and likely beat out other players that could step in and play the role. Ultimately, I see Mills having a good offseason and at least being named as the Week 1 starter — which is where the real test will start.
Keep in mind, Jordan Mills was originally drafted by the Chicago Bears in 2013 and actually started 29 games in his first two seasons with them (he played a full season his rookie year).
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If he doesn’t end up starting Week 1, he will become the team’s main backup at tackle and I would actually be very happy to have him as a backup. Any backup with a lot of starting experience is a good backup to have, even if they didn’t meet standards when on the field.
There’s no doubt that Mills was the lone offensive lineman that held this team back. Losing Eric Wood and not having Glenn healthy 100% of the time also hurt the line, but Mills’ performance stood out the most.
With more depth at offensive line and possibly a tackle that will provide competition, Jordan Mills will be stuck proving his worth this offseason. Who knows, maybe Juan Castillo (new offensive line coach) saw something in Mills and believes he can bring the best out of him.
As a fan, I sure hope that’s the case. Castillo is one of the best in the game and if anyone can bring excellence out of Mills, it’s most likely him.
All in all, I have faith that Mills will show improvement and stick with this team at least for the next two years. It might be in a backup role, but Jordan Mills would make a great backup on this roster — and I don’t mean that negatively.
Looking at how injuries have plagued the Buffalo Bills recently, backups are just as important as starters.
Lastly, I just want to share a quote from Jordan Mills that he said before the 2016 season — after finishing the 2015 season as a starter:
"“Coaches around the league always talk about ‘next man up.’ I waited for my opportunity, and I feel like I made the most of it,” Jordan Mills said. “I feel I [held up my end of the bargain] to the best of my abilities.”"
Ironically, Mills could be giving the next man up an opportunity if things don’t work out this offseason. Luckily for the Buffalo Bills, the rest of the offensive line is looking very strong and could make for one of the league’s top O-Line’s in the NFL next season.
Let’s take a look at how that’s all shaping up.
What are your thoughts on Jordan Mills and where he fits on the roster? Leave your comments below!