Analyzing Draft Prospects: Dee Milliner

After Tuesday’s finale of the 2013 NFL Combine, the Eagles may have been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the whole process. The number four pick gained a lot of value when Alabama’s Dee Milliner ran a 4.37 official 40-yard dash.

“Watch the NFL Combine,” said Milliner when a reporter questioned him on his speed. He backed up his words with 4.31 and 4.37 unofficial runs on Tuesday, opening scouts’ eyes to the prospect.

While excelling in most aspects and measurables at the combine, the 6-0, 201-pound cornerback had trouble catching the ball in drills. Leading the NCAA in passes defensed in 2012 with 18, Milliner may have had a chance to have more than the two interceptions he tallied in the 2012 season had he been able to hold on to the ball. Regardless of his drops at the combine, Milliner is not a receiver so his draft stock was not hurt.

His draft stock did, however, rise due to the combine. “Welcome to the top ten,” said Mike Mayock immediately following his 40-yard dash. Now that Milliner’s solidified his top ten position, he is likely to go in the top five, not slipping past the Detroit Lions who hold the fifth pick in April’s draft. This raises the value of the Eagles fourth overall pick in two ways.

The Eagles could use the pick on Dee Milliner to bolster what is arguably the weakest position on the team in the defensive backs. They could also shop the pick to teams looking to go after Milliner having to jump ahead of the Lions to do so.

Milliner is a physical cornerback who excels in bump-and-run coverage and has spent his offseason thus far working on his off coverage and back-pedaling. With 54 tackles in 13 games Milliner has no problem sticking his nose in on a play and hitting the ball carrier. A physical presence, something lacking in the Eagles defense in 2012, will be a big plus when Chip Kelly is looking at potential draftees.

If the Eagles are looking to address the defensive back question later in the draft, there may not be a huge drop-off of talent. The deepest position in the draft is undoubtedly the safeties and cornerbacks and value could be had in the second and third rounds. Moving back could not only add another pick in that range, but it could also put the Eagles in a more sensible position to draft a player like Dion Jordan (see article here) who is in the 7th-15th pick range.

Milliner, like Jordan, is expected to undergo surgery and miss his pro day to add more to his pre-draft workouts. Both players are expected to be out 3-4 months, giving them plenty of healing time before August’s Training Camp.

If a team is looking to move up to draft Milliner, the only sensible place to move would be to the Eagles position at number four. The top three teams, Kansas City, Oakland, and Jacksonville, all have bigger needs to address than cornerback and will not take Milliner in the top three. There sit the Eagles at number four, who haven’t been particularly dismissive in talking about trading the pick, one spot ahead of the desperate Lions.

The Lions, who only had 11 interceptions in 2012 and ranked 14th in pass defense, have seven defensive backs (four cornerbacks) heading into free agency and will likely lose at least three of them. That leaves a pretty significant hole for them which leads to speculation among the Lions faithful that their prayers may be answered at number five with Dee Milliner.

The Eagles could easily yank those dreams away by trading their pick to a team who wants Dee Milliner at the right price. Or they could use their own pick and fill a need on a defense that is clearly in rebuilding mode. Whichever way Chip Kelly and the Eagles choose to go, the Detroit Lions will likely have a waiting game on the self-described “best defensive back in this draft,” come April 25th.

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25 thoughts on “Analyzing Draft Prospects: Dee Milliner

  1. I like Milliner but not with the #4th Overall Pick..
    I rather have CB’s Xavier Rhodes, Marcus Trufant,Dave Amerson,Logan Ryans or David Gratz which can be Selected 2ns thru 4th Rounds
    Milliner showed poor hands and the Eagles Need CB’s who can make plays on the ball and get some INt’s .. Dave Amerson from NC State was among the Nation Leaders with Int’s over the last 2 Seasons..

  2. Notred Dame playing with a Freshman QB who still threw for 300 yards against th evaunted Bama’s Defense.. I like Mililner and think he will be a very good Pro Cb, but with his stone hands, I would a CB who can make some Int’s when given the opportuntity.. with Asmo and DRC the Eagles already have CB’s that can’t make INt’s..
    I think he will go at #5 to the Detroit Lions who are desperate for a CB

  3. I would not call the Notre Dame WR & QB as big-time threats in the passing game for whatever it’s worth.. Johnny Football and the Texas A&M Receivers ate him up…

      1. Right E0S!! Who is the last All Pro Cornerback drafted out of Alabama?

        Meditate on that, and ask yourself, do you still think you should draft him at 4…..

        GMCliff says Dee Milner, is fools gold….and his supporters have been hoodwinked, bamboozled, and bribed with a 4.3 forty….

  4. I would like to see the Eagles move out of that #4 spot and pile up more picks. And I’m sure there will be a team on draft day that will want to move up to snatch him.

  5. If you can trade back and get a second first or second that may have more of an immediate effect on this team this year than getting one stud (as long as you still get good players and not Teo-Neshiem and the like). If you can land 2 corners and a safety in the first and second round then the birds would be in very good shape.

  6. man..i just looked at some film of slay…yeah…i have 3 corners id like the eagles to choose…rhodes…amerson…slay…2 would be nice…get rid of asmo and DRC aka Dont Really Care…

  7. I don’t like Milliner at #4. He seems like he’ll be a really good corner but not a difference maker. With the #4 pick, the Eagles need a difference maker. If it’s a CB, that CB better be able to rack up INTs.

  8. Dunta Robinson was just released by the Falcons today. I like his style of play and would take him over DRC and Asmo. Maybe the Eagles make a run at him in free agency if they can get him at a good price.

  9. Neither Dunta Robinson & DeSean Jackson have been the same Players since their Head to Head Collison from November of 2010 at the Linc.. Both play have played “gun-shy” out there which you cannot do in the NFL

    1. McKelvin is a pretty good player , also can return Kicks/Punts
      He would be a pretty godo pick-up
      I like Marcus Trufant (Seahawks) Mike Jenkins (Cowboys)Tracey Porter (Broncos) Cedric Griffin (Redskins) ANtoine Cason (Chargers) for a 2-3 Year period to hold the fort down while the Young Players hopefully blossom..None of these Players would break the bank and would relish the opportunitiy to be full-time Starters ..

  10. @paulman
    That vaulted Alabama defense (which included millner) made ND look like a HS team in a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP game. Also totally overmatched teams usually do have high passing yards when considering playing catch up. This describes ND. Oh; noone was lamenting how pedestrian or young the qb and recvrs were prior to millner and crew destroying them.

    1. I agree 100% that Alabama is and was far more Talented, and way better coached than ND.. All I am saying is in the 2nd Half of that game
      ND mQB and the ND Receivers made a lot of plays and yard aged against the Alabana Secondary (as did Texas A&M and Georgia in the SEC Championship game)
      See Milliner is a good Player, no doubt and will make a good NFL CB,
      I am just not sold on the hype and more importantly his hand skills to make
      Big plays like INT’s to be the 4th Overalk Pick
      I have seen too many Alavana CB’s be simply Average in the NFL
      That had good College Careers on some great Alabana Defenses

      1. I have seen too many Alabama CB’s be simply Average in the NFL
        That had good College Careers on some great Alabama Defenses.

        Yes, in a nut shell…This is reality. I predict like Trent Richardson – from Alabama as well – he will be nothing special.

  11. Look I’m fine with folks not wanting Millner at 4. Just don’t come with the “reasoning” based off a national championship game where HE was actually pretty dominant. Alabama called off the dogs. The outcome would have been far worst. The meaningless yards gained by the Irish were compliments of Saban’s mercy. There was NOTHING shown by Notre Dame’s offense that said it belonged on the same field with the Tide’s defense. Bad example Paulman. The kid is a stud. That being said, I would not object to us trading down to gain additional picks or pick up one of the other very good corners.

  12. All I can go by is the last 3-4 Stud CB’s from Bana on FDA better Defensive Z line that the 2012 Defense and they have not stepped up in the NFL
    I am talking about Kareem Jackson (Texans) Javier Arenas (Chiefs)
    and Dre Kirkpatrick ( Bengals) all highly touted and high Draft picks and a have been average in the NFL to dlissapointing thus far.
    I believe they and Milliner are more products of Saban’s Stystem
    And Schenes at the College Kevel against some mediocre Offenses in the SEC and QB’s the last few years..

  13. Problem with trading back for extra picks is you need a willing partner. Without a stud QB or WR, what player is worth giving up the extra picks? Remember this draft is deep in CBs, DL, OTs – the exact positions which will be the target at 4.

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