LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears rookie right tackle Jordan Mills checked in at No. 8 on Mel Kiper Jr.’s NFL Rookie Rankings, where he lists the 2013 draft class based on how they performed in Week 1.
Here’s what Kiper wrote: “How would you have answered this question a week ago: 'Jay Cutler plays a full game against the Bengals -- how many times is he sacked?' The answer turned out to be zero, and Mills deserves his share of the credit. A lot of people have called Kyle Long the surprise stud on the O-line, but Long was just OK against Cincy, and it was Mills who has much greater positional value. In the fourth quarter, the fifth-round steal was involved in two critical plays. On fourth-and-1, the Bears picked up a key first down with Mills getting the necessary movement. On third-and-6, Bears RB Michael Bush didn't get the first down, but Mills sustained a block against Rey Maualuga and drew a personal foul penalty against Maualuga that iced the game. Great start.”
Mills definitely deserved mention for the performance in his NFL debut against Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who finished that game with three tackles and two quarterback hits. One of those hits came on Chicago’s first play from scrimmage when made a mistake and Long locked his eyes on Maualuga, which allowed Dunlap to come free.
Asked about his place on Kiper’s list, Mills smiled; happy to receive the recognition.
“When I saw it, Mel Kiper is one of the best sports critics in the world. So to see that, it was great that he thought of me as one of the top 15,” Mills said. “You can’t always pay attention to what you see online. You’ve just got to keep working.”
But undoubtedly, Mills gained confidence from the performance against Dunlap.
“I’m always my worst critic. I always think I did just O.K.,” Mills said. “But after seeing the film, I think I did a pretty good job not to give up any sacks to a person that just signed a contract extension for $40 million. He’s supposed to be their best pass-rusher, and he gave me his all. It wasn’t easy handling him, but just to come out with a win with my team and see everybody working hard across the board in all phases of the game, it was a great experience."