Impending Surgery Could Push CB Dee Milliner to Tampa Bay in NFL Draft

Knox BardeenNFC South Lead WriterFebruary 21, 2013

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 15:    Dee Milliner #28 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs the ball against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Crimson Tide defeated the Razorbacks 52-0.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner will undergo a surgical procedure to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, ESPN analyst Adam Schefter reported Thursday.

Many, including Schefter, slot Milliner as a top-five pick. But NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock had a lower opinion of the Crimson Tide corner on a conference call on Feb. 18.

"Dee Milliner for me is a guy that, if he runs fast, he can become a top 10 guy," said Mayock. "And most people think he already is. I don't. I love him as a player, love him on tape. I think he's more like the 20th pick in the draft, if I had to put a number on him. However, if he runs sub-4.5, I think he's going to be a top-10 pick."

Milliner still plans to participate in every drill at the NFL Scouting Combine except the bench press, so his speed will be on display. But how much will Milliner’s injury push down his draft status?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers own the No. 13 pick in April’s draft and are in dire need of a cornerback. If Milliner does fall, will the Buccaneers pounce?

Milliner’s agent told ESPN that he would be fully recovered by training camp, but the first round of the draft is all about talent, upside and minimizing risk. This could be enough to drop Milliner to No. 13, and Tampa Bay would be foolish to pass because of its troubles in the secondary last season.

The Buccaneers gave up 4,758 yards through the air in 2012. No team gave up more. It’s a position of great need, and as long as Milliner’s surgery goes well, he’s the right pick for Tampa Bay at No. 13.

The defensive backs will go through their on-field combine testing on Tuesday, Feb. 26. This is must-see TV for anyone interested in Milliner. He reportedly injured his shoulder during the season last year and played through the pain. This means he’s tough and the shoulder might not give him problems in Indianapolis at the combine.

That said, if his 40-yard dash time falls below 4.5, his draft stock may fall too.


Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and statements were obtained firsthand.

Knox Bardeen is the NFC South lead writer for Bleacher Report and the author of “100 Things Falcons Fans Should Know & Do Before they Die.” Be sure to follow Knox on Twitter.