In his rookie season, New York Jets cornerback Dee Milliner ended things on a high note after tackling a major learning curve transitioning into the NFL. It also didn’t help that he was injured and missed several games, but he bounced back nicely towards the end of the year.
A former first-round draft pick, Milliner finished with 45 tackles and three interceptions. Granted, it’s not the kind of success everyone had expected from him, but he has shown signs of being a solid shutdown cornerback. One great stat he posted was that he led the team at 19 passes defended, helping to stop key drives on third-down conversion attempts.
Milliner is expected to have a much better sophomore season. As long as he’s healthy, he will have some good experience under his belt. He has the potential to make everyone on the Jets forget all about Darrelle Revis since he’s fast, quick and is a hard-hitting tackler. While he didn’t get any sacks last season, he is also very good at blitzing the quarterback.
There is a big reason why he was named the Defensive Rookie of the Month for December. Had he played like that all season long, perhaps the Jets wouldn’t be in the situation they’re in now, trying to draft another cornerback. There is still that risk that he might either get re-injured or not be effective in the Jets’ defensive backfield. The good news is, however, that history shouldn’t repeat itself since the Jets placed him on a special strength workout regimen during the offseason to keep him healthy.
The Jets absolutely need Milliner to step up his game this season since it looks like they might draft another top cornerback with their first-round draft pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He will be the main defender in that backfield and will need to play with precision and quality. If he can solidify himself as their No. 1 cornerback and play like it, the Jets will be in a good position against even the best offenses thrown their way.
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