Scout's Notebook: TE Garrett Mills

The Vikings might have upgraded their depth at tight end with the addition of Garrett Mills off the waiver wire from New England. Check out the scouting report.

#45, Garrett Mills, TE
(6011, 241, 4.57-4.69) Tulsa

Notes:  Born Michael Garrett Mills, 10/12/83.  Parents are Michael and Billie Mills.  Both his parents graduated from Tulsa, and his father played football at Tulsa.  He was a three-year starting tight end at Jenks (Okla.) High School, where he also lettered as a linebacker as a senior.  Selected as the Tulsa World Player of the Year as a senior and was a member of teams that posted a three-year record of 40- 1 and won three Class 6A state titles.  Named the District Player of the Year as a senior, when he caught 39 passes for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns, with 45 tackles and two interceptions.  Recorded career totals of 71 receptions for 1,711 yards and 12 TDs.   He also lettered three times in basketball.

College:  Played some as a backup tight end and on special teams as a freshman (2002); caught 10 passes for 138 yards (13.8 avg.) with 2 touchdowns and 8 tackles on special teams.  Became a starter in 2003, catching 53-456-10 (8.6 avg.) as he led the team in receptions while also contributing 8 tackles on special teams.  Caught 51-560-2 (11.0 avg.) in 2004.  Finished his college career by setting an NCAA single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end with 87-1,235-9 (14.2 avg.) in 13 starts in 2005.  Management major, with a minor in Accounting.

Workout numbers prior the draft included 23 reps at 225 pounds in the bench press, a 1.60 10-yard dash, 2.69 20-yard dash, 4.57 40-yard dash, 35 ½-inch vertical jump, 9’3” broad jump, 4.05 20-yard shuttle, 11.05 60-yard shuttle, 6.81 three-cone drill and his Wonderlic score was a very impressive 35.

Pro:  A fourth-round draft choice (No. 106 overall) by the New England Patriots in 2006. He finished the season on injured reserve with thigh and hip injuries. Mills was claimed on waivers by the Vikings prior to the 2007 season after the Patriots tried to slip him through waivers for their practice squad.

Positives:  Fine all-around athlete with exceptional versatility.  Was incredibly productive as a pass receiver in college and catches the ball extremely well.  Runs precise pass routes, shows soft hands and adjusts to the ball nicely.  Effective blocker downfield and in space.  He is very versatile and can line up all over the field.  Runs well after the catch.  A quality person on and off the field with terrific work ethic.  Well-built and dedicated in the weight-room.  Will contribute on special teams and shows good awareness and body control covering kicks.  Very intelligent and will learn quickly.

Negatives:  Does not have prototype natural size.  Is not a powerful lead blocker and is limited as a blocker at the point of attack where he is overmatched in terms of size often times.

Summary:  A real jack-of-all-trades player who can contribute in a lot of different ways as a tight end, H-back, fullback, special teams and has even filled in as a long snapper.  Represents a talent upgrade over Richard Owens, who was recently released by the Vikings.

What they said:

“The guy is amazing.  Garrett never long snapped in his life and when we needed someone, he stepped right in and did it for three games.  He did everything for us at Tulsa.  Heck, he even returned punts in the Oklahoma game.  No lie, a tight end returning punts.  That’s the kind of kid he is.  He’ll do anything to help his team win.  Garrett Mills is one of the best players I ever coached and he’s even a better person than he is a player.” – Tulsa tight ends coach Matt Wells

“An overachiever whose size is all that is keeping him from being considered early in the draft…If he were three inches taller and 20 pounds heavier, he’d be a first-round cinch.  Will find a way to make a team and contribute.” – Nolan Nawrocki, Pro Football Weekly

“Mills lacks ideal size to be a true fullback in the NFL, so he could end up as a Move TE or an H-Back.  Either way, his strength is as a pass receiver, and he was one of the most sure-handed players in college football.  Mills has great hands, is tough, and really improved his blocking during his Tulsa career.” – Mel Kiper, Jr.

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