With the No. 9 pick overall in the 2013 draft, Gang Green selected a cornerback from Alabama, Dee Milliner. Milliner was the top ranked corner in this past year’s draft, because he was the best lockdown corner in the SEC. However, his play on the college field has not transferred over to the NFL; leading to his benching in multiple games during his rookie campaign.
For Rex Ryan, he has been far more than supportive of the rookie, despite the lack of production from the first year player. Rex still believes that Dee Milliner will finish the season strong, and become the NFL’s best rookie cornerback.
“I think with Dee (Milliner), when I went back, I watched that tape, he’s a lot closer than I think given credit for. He’s close to being that player that we want,” said Rex. “I will say this, by the time the season’s over, I think he will be the best rookie corner and playing better than any rookie corner in this year’s draft. I don’t think there’s any doubt.”
Through the first eight weeks of his rookie season, Milliner has started in just four games. His poor performances and aching hamstring have limited his play thus far. But after being benched during the second quarter of the Cincinnati game, New York’s coach says that Milliner will be opposite of Antonio Cromartie this upcoming Sunday.
Ryan feels very confident in Milliner’s ability to overcome rookie mistakes. Rex said on Wednesday that he sees Dee “getting better,” continuing to explain that “all facets, schematically, he’s not making the mental errors, so I think that’s a big thing. And just his technique, I see his technique coming.”
Ryan also thinks that if the first round pick catches a few breaks and makes a few big plays, everything will turn upward for the young, talented corner.
Coming into Sunday, Milliner needs to put the horrid, Week 8 performance behind him. He will be covering a talented receiving corps of the New Orleans Saints, while trying to defend passes from future hall of fame quarterback, Drew Brees. Look to see No. 27 take the field, at home, starting for only the fifth time this year.