Just a little over half a year ago, the New York Jets finally reached a deal with their first-round (ninth overall) pick Dee Milliner. The relationship between the Jets organization and Milliner got off to a rocky start because the cornerback missed the first three days of training camp due to a contract dispute; he wanted, and believed he was entitled to more money, and the Jets finally gave in and signed Milliner to a four-year deal worth $12.66 million, fully guaranteed.
Milliner, who was rated as the best cover corner coming out of the 2013 NFL draft, was expected to fill the hole left behind by the departure of Darrelle Revis. But, he has looked very below average this season. With all the hype and good draft grades, the cornerback maybe bought into his own hype.
The former five-star recruit was supposed to be a great addition to the Jets’ secondary. He showed off his speed at the NFL Combine, breaking a 4.4 40-yard dash time; he was also athletic enough to read plays quickly and break on the ball in a hurry. In college, he showed he can play a zone scheme and man-to-man coverage, and was physical enough to help on run defense.
From scouting reports, we saw that Milliner located the ball well in the air and was a ball hawk. If beaten at the line of scrimmage, his closing speed would help him out in time make a play for the ball. The cornerback had the athleticism to contribute to the Jets’ defense immediately.
After 13 weeks in the regular season, what happened to Milliner?
Forget trying to fill Revis’ shoes. Milliner has to try and be a competent cornerback. After allowing a touchdown (shocker) in the Jets’ tough loss to the Miami Dolphins, the rookie cornerback was benched for the third time this season. He had another terrible game, getting beat several times and allowing Mike Wallace to break through his tackle and scamper down the sideline for a 28-yard touchdown.
Rookies struggle, but Milliner doesn’t look like he belongs with the starters; he doesn’t look like a No. 9 pick.
The rookie is unable to cover, unable to tackle, and it appears that he is having trouble recognizing situations in which the ball would come his way. So, to sum it up, the Jets have not been getting a return on their investment and again, they may be dealing with another draft bust.