With all the cornerback questions the New York Jets have right now, one has to wonder about the future of Dee Milliner. Next year, will we see a Dee Milliner similar to the one at the end of last year, shutting down receivers and reading quarterbacks like a pro? Or will next year be a repeat of the first 15 weeks of 2013, a horrific, easily burned Dee Milliner?
According to NFL Analyst Bucky Brooks, Jets’ fans are in good luck. In a recent article written by Brooks, he highlighted Milliner as one of the second-year players that he expects to have a great sophomore season.
Milliner didn’t initially live up to the hype that came with being the No. 9 overall pick in last year’s draft — missing a handful of games in the first half as he dealt with injury issues — but he really showed something toward the end of the season, specifically in Weeks 16 and 17. In those two games, Milliner broke up 10 passes — that’s practically unheard of, the equivalent of having four interceptions in one game — and snagged three picks. Milliner has the size, speed and long arms needed for the position. He’s also a very good tackler and blitzer. Being viewed by many as the replacement for Darrelle Revis didn’t make Milliner’s rookie year any easier. While I don’t know if you can ever truly replace Revis, Milliner has turned it around, and I think he has a better-than-average chance of making the Pro Bowl within the next two years.”
Brooks brings up some good points here, especially when addressing Dee Milliner’s final two games last year. Against Cleveland in Week 16 and Miami in Week 17, Milliner played like a seasoned veteran, playing the ball with excellence and showing flashes of greatness.
However, two games does not erase all the failures of the other eleven games he played in. As most of the people who watched those games last year can attest to, Dee Milliner was abysmal at best. In these games, Milliner showed several flaws which include poor footwork, inadequate ball playing ability, and a tendency to get burned in coverage. Many labeled Milliner to be yet another bust, similar to Kyle Wilson.
So what exactly can we expect from Dee Milliner next year? According to Brooks, we should expect Milliner to far exceed expectations, racking up 25 pass breakups along with 5 interceptions.
Unfortunately, with the cornerback position for the Jets in complete disarray, Milliner will likely be expected to shadow the opposing team’s number one receiver. Next year’s schedule includes top receivers Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Demaryius Thomas, and more.
Although Milliner showed signs of promise at the end of last year, it is a little too ambitious to expect greatness in just his second year. In order to Milliner to fulfill the expectations that were given to him as a result of being a top 10 draft pick. Expect Milliner to continue to improve his game, and by the end of the this season we will hopefully view Milliner as a long-term solution for our cornerback position.