Mills started every game over his last two seasons at Louisiana Tech, and was named All-WAC first team during his senior season.
Strengths: Beyond his physical gifts, Mills possesses the type of attitude that will endear him to the coaching staff, according to multiple scouting reports. Mills is considered a hard worker in the weight room and in the classroom, and scouts rave about his dedication to the game. With the Bears looking for more athletic offensive linemen, Mills makes for an ideal fit because he possesses the speed to get up to linebackers and the coordination to block efficiently in space.
Weaknesses: Played against inferior competition at Louisiana Tech most of the time. Allows defenders to get into his body on occasion and lacks flexibility, which at this point may be something he can improve upon with refined technique. Has a tendency to lose leverage because he plays too high. Because Mills played in a spread offense in college, Mills will probably take time to adjust to NFL blocking schemes.
By the numbers: Mills is 6-foot-5 and weighs 316 pounds. He ran a 5.37-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. His arms are 34 inches long and his hands measured 9 ¾ inches. To compare, Bears’ first-round pick Kyle Long’s hands measured 11 inches, and his arms were 33 3/8 inches.
What it means: The Bears have fully committed to protecting their most valuable asset on offense: Jay Cutler. For years the Bears seemed to neglect the offensive line, and instead focused on the defense. When the team did use draft picks to select offensive linemen, the players didn’t pan out. So by using this draft to add to more offensive linemen to the three the club acquired in free agency, the Bears give themselves more chances to uncover players who can contribute right away.
“If somebody breaks a long touchdown, even though that’s my cousin and I love him, that’s not gonna be good for him,” Mills said.
Next: The Bears swapped picks with Atlanta in the fifth round, giving the Falcons the 153rd pick in exchange for No. 163. In return, Chicago acquired the Falcons’ 7th-round pick (236). The Bears entered the weekend without a seventh rounder. In the sixth round, the Bears hold the 188th overall pick.