Fantasy Impact: New York Jets Select Dee Milliner
With the ninth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the New York Jets selected cornerback Dee Milliner (Alabama Crimson Tide). Make no mistake, Milliner is a terrific corner, and if he’s able to stay on the field (more on that later) he’ll be a solid NFL starter for years to come. He’s strong in coverage and physical against the run, but has merely average ball skills. The fact that he was able to hold his own in man coverage against 6’6″, 250-pound Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert in the BCS National Championship Game speaks volumes, and Milliner also made some very big plays against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.
However, he’s undergone five surgeries to date – a right knee scope, a repair of a sports hernia, a procedure for a right tibia stress fracture and one surgery on each shoulder – and although he missed virtually no playing time while with the Crimson Tide, that tendency to get dinged up will likely become more of a problem as the size and speed of the collisions increases. Given the extensive injury history, it’s quite possible that some teams will prefer D.J. Hayden or Xavier Rhodes. But while the injuries are a concern, the fact that Milliner was able to stay on the field for the Crimson Tide is a crucial detail, and there’s little question that – when healthy – he’s got the ability to play at an elite level.
For the Jets, this pick is a really interesting move, because Milliner should do a great job replacing Darrelle Revis in the starting lineup at a fraction of the price. Those questioning the swapping of Revis for Milliner need to consider the fact that Revis costs far more and his health is now just as much a question mark as Milliner’s.
College statistics courtesy of Sports Reference.
Initially, Milliner should have solid value, because he’ll be playing opposite Antonio Cromartie (who should at least initially be given the most challenging assignments). Milliner’s ball skills are suspect, but he should be targeted aplenty (at least early on) with Cromartie playing opposite him. If Milliner can stay healthy, he should be a solid IDP corner.