Dee Milliner NFL Combine: Poor Showing in Field Drills Won't Hurt Draft Stock

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IFebruary 27, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 26: Dee Milliner of the University of Alabama works out during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 26, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Dee Milliner didn't put on a good show during field drills at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, but don't think for a second that it'll negatively impact his draft stock.

The cornerback from Alabama struggled to get a handle of a few passes on Tuesday, embarrassing himself with some uncharacteristic drops. 

That's why he's a cornerback, folks.

Seriously, though, Milliner's game tape speaks for itself. The only real question scouts had about this young man was whether or not he is fast enough to hold his own on an island in single coverage against the top receivers in the NFL.

And Milliner answered that question with a resounding "Yes!"

Only one other cornerback ran the 40-yard dash faster than Milliner, who posted an official time of 4.37 seconds. That's what I call getting it done, and no amount of bobbled passes will deter teams from viewing him as a top-10 talent heading into the 2013 NFL draft.

Milliner won't be able to work out for scouts again when Alabama has its pro day on March 13, due to the fact that he's scheduled to get surgery on his shoulder on March 12 (h/t's Kareem Copeland). 

At this point, though, he's more than made his case as the top cornerback in this year's draft. This past year, Milliner tallied 34 solo tackles, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions—one of which he returned for a touchdown—an eye-popping 22 passes defended and two forced fumbles.

He shut down Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert in the first half of the BCS title game in January, and he proved all year long that he's up to the task of covering the opposing team's best receiver.

Milliner may not have hands of glue, but his athleticism, speed and instincts make him an effective cover corner, as he showed time and time again in 2012 for the Crimson Tide.

As CBS Sports' Will Brinson wrote recently:

He'll supposedly be ready for training camp, so there's not much concern about drafting him. Which means if someone wants Milliner on their team, they'll probably need to be holding a top-five pick by the time the draft rolls around.

Last year's top cornerback, Morris Claiborne, wasn't as athletically gifted as Milliner has proven to be. He logged a 4.47-second 40 time and posted lower numbers than Milliner in every event, minus the 20-yard shuttle. 

Claiborne was drafted with the No. 6 overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys, and Jerry Jones moved up from the No. 14 spot to land him.

Milliner is just as promising a pro prospect as Claiborne was last year, and few dropped passes won't deter teams from drafting him early in Round 1 this upcoming April.


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