Players who are first-round selections in the NFL Draft face high expectations. A year of transition appears to be acceptable. After this period, patience runs out and competition is usually brought in as an alternative. One player may have seen his time run out. The decision for New York Jets rookie cornerback Dee Milliner to be the No. 2 starting cornerback against the Detroit Lions in their preseason debut Friday may provide clues for a certain individual.
Back in 2010 when Gang Green was still viewed as a contending team, they selected cornerback Kyle Wilson 29th overall in that year’s draft. Although he was a highly touted prospect at his position, New York already boasted Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie as solid defensive backs. At the time, there were other areas of need. Wilson did fit, though, in nickel situations while being thought of as potential starting material. Immediately, Wilson struggled, drawing penalties and occasionally blowing pass coverage against opposing receivers. His ability to close on these players did improve in both 2011 and 2012. When dealing with statistics, he has been somewhat disappointing with only three interceptions.
The Jets looked elsewhere for a long-term solution. Milliner was chosen ninth overall in this year’s draft. Coming out of Alabama, he represented the best option at cornerback. Special packages last season demonstrated that Isaiah Trufant and Ellis Lankster could be solid at times. Experts predicted that this change would take place eventually, but that it would not happen quite so quickly. This could mean that Wilson, either this year or next year, ends up leaving the only pro team he has known.