When Darrelle Revis departed from his island in New York and headed to Tampa Bay, he left the New York Jets with partly cloudy skies.
The top cornerback in the NFL also left behind a glaring hole at the position, but the Jets’ front office didn’t panic — it had a plan in place. During the 2013 NFL Draft, the Jets stuck to their plan and got a new replacement with the ninth pick overall: Dee Milliner.
When training camp came around, Milliner was slow to catch on with the team because of a contract dispute and a nagging injury. His absence from camp slowed down the important learning process of the game and it showed during the regular season. Milliner was torched all over the field during the first two weeks and it all finally came to a head when Jets coach Rex Ryan parked him on the bench. Actually, Milliner was benched three different times during the regular season, but each time he headed to the bench, it made him humble. It showed him that nothing in the league is a guarantee no matter where you are drafted.
Someone who holds out of training camp just to focus on money is not the type of player the Jets need, trust me; many of the old Jets teams were littered with those types of players. The opportunity to sit from the sidelines helped Milliner learn the game, and that was something he was not able to do much of during training camp. After the early benching, he showed on and off glimpses of strong play. As the season wound down, Milliner began to put the pieces together. In the last two weeks of the season, he showed the world that he can be the next Revis as he totaled three picks and 13 tackles in those two games.
The Revis-Milliner comparison will continue on for the rest of his career, but the kid has the talent to be a Revis-like cornerback. As long as he can stay humble and continue to learn, Milliner is on his way to being one of the NFL’s best at the position.