Once considered a favorite of the Detroit Lions, cornerback Dee Milliner out of the University of Alabama, should now be off the team’s radar. Milliner will be undergoing surgery for a torn labrum in his right shoulder after this weekend’s 2013 NFL Scouting Combine.
The injury will not keep Milliner from working out at the combine and will also not prevent him from playing in the 2013 NFL season. Tony Fleming, one of Milliner’s representatives at Impact Sports, had this to say, “The doctors have informed us that he will be 100 percent and fully recovered in time for training camp in July.”
So why if he is the best cornerback, would I be saying the Lions should stay away from Milliner in the draft? The answer is simply they can’t afford to take a chance on a player that could miss time in 2013. The team is short at cornerback and still has free agents Chris Houston, Drayton Florence and Jacob Lacey to make decisions on. There are other strong first round options to the Lions at the cornerback position in Xavier Rhodes, Jonathan Banks and Desmond Trufant.
Even though cornerback is the biggest need of the Lions team, the number five overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft should be spent elsewhere. This is a sharp contrast to what I said in my December mock draft. At that time I listed Milliner as the pick for the Lions and said they should have “blinders on and take whatever corner is on the board with their pick.”
Times change though and two recent salary cap moves by the Lions have created large holes. The Lions cut veterans Kyle Vanden Bosch (DE) and Stephen Peterman (OL). These two positions have strong prospects that could be worth the pick at number five. I think the Lions will take a defensive end at number five and as a fan, I would be happy with that.