His performance at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine guaranteed that fact and put the rest of the league on notice just how good Milliner will be in the NFL.
Considered a great prospect before Indianapolis, Milliner impressed many with his blistering 4.31 seconds in the 40-yard dash—the second fastest from any defensive back. And whilst the 40-yard dash time isn't the be all and end all of a prospect, for Milliner, it did him absolutely no favors in front of the scouts.
When coupled with his 36-inch vertical leap and his 122-inch broad jump, the 'Bama boy showed that he has the athleticism required from top corners in the NFL.
His 4.31 run and sub-seven seconds in the three cone drill further consolidated that point, and it led to glowing recommendations coming out of Indianapolis.
There's no question Milliner's the top cornerback in the 2013 NFL Draft class. And now he looks like a virtual lock to go in the top 10 come April.
So it's not like we're talking about a guy who was going to plummet with a slower 40 time. What makes his performance important is it's probably the last time we'll see him. Milliner will have surgery to repair a torn labrum (let's not forget he's busting out his 40 time with that injury) in between the combine and Alabama's pro day on March 13.
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.
With Milliner, teams know exactly what they're going to be getting; there are no hidden question marks or doubts about his ability to thrive in the NFL.
Other than his current injury, which Milliner has had all season and should have overcome by the start of the 2013 NFL Draft, the cornerback is every bit NFL ready and a top pick here. For if this is what Milliner is doing with the injury—imagine the success he can have without it.
As ESPN reported, Bama CB Dee Milliner has a torn labrum. I'm told he suffered the injury in-season, played thru it during Tide's title run.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 21, 2013
Having said that, Milliner is not perfect and he's in no way the top corner in the league already. Milliner doesn't have the interception-based game in his repertoire just yet—something that showed up big during the skill-based drills at the 2013 combine.
Yet, as Will Brinson of CBS Sports said, there's reasons for that too.
We could blame Dee Milliner's inability to catch today on the little things. Or, you know, a TORN LABRUM.— Will Brinson (@willbrinson) February 26, 2013
Milliner is not the interception ball hawk that some corners are; he's more of the shutdown guy that simply blankets others from making plays on the ball.
Simply put, he doesn't allow catches—certainly not easy catches, anyway—and is a constant problem for opposing quarterbacks to deal with on the field.
And as a result, he will definitely go top 10 in the draft this year.
Much talk has been made of the corner not even getting past the Detroit Lions at No. 5 overall, and given his skill set, that would not be a surprise. Personally, I think he'll go one pick after that to Cleveland—which certainly wouldn't be a mistake for the Browns to make.
But one thing's for certain: Milliner certainly isn't making it out of the top 10.
No team is going to let him drop that far.
Where do you think Dee Milliner will get picked in the 2013 NFL Draft?
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