The consensus top cornerback and only player at his position with a chance to go in the top five selections of this year's NFL draft is Alabama corner Dee Milliner.
He has capped off a stellar collegiate career, one that has seen him win two national championships and be named to the 2012 All-American team. Now, Milliner is a top-flight prospect looking forward to the next level of football.
Let's take a look at Milliner the man and Milliner the football player to get a better idea of what to expect from him in the NFL.
Full Name: DeMarcus Milliner
Date of Birth: September 14, 1991
Hometown: Millbrook, Alabama
High School: Stanhope Elmore High School
Milliner is one of those rare prospects who has excelled in every phase of football he has ever played. From the time he took the gridiron at Stanhope Elmore High School in his hometown of Millbrook, Alabama, Milliner was making plays and earning accolades.
During his senior high school season, Milliner was named to practically every All-State and All-American team in the country while earning the status of being a 5-star prospect (per Rivals.com).
Born and raised in Alabama, Milliner has been surrounded by football his whole life. The junior should have no problem turning football from an obsession into an occupation in the NFL.
Milliner had an excellent career in Tuscaloosa, starting out with a bang before transitioning into a role as the nickel corner in 2011. He improved enough to earn a full-time starting job in 2012, earning All-American honors thanks in large part to his 22 passes defended.
All stats courtesy of Sports-Reference.com.
Weight: 201 pounds
Arm Length: 32"
Hand Size: 8.75"
40-Yard Dash: 4.37 seconds
Broad Jump: 122"
Vertical Jump: 36"
Three-Cone Drill: 6.95 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.32 seconds
Milliner stands out via his combine results and why wouldn't he? His 4.37 cemented his status as the top corner in this draft. His combination of size and speed is among the best in the draft regardless of position, which should entice a team to take him in the top five.
Measurements and combine results courtesy of NFL.com.
At just 14 years old, Dee Milliner ran an interception back for 40 yards and a touchdown in his first start at the 6A level. He was also an offensive threat in high school, averaging 9.5 yards per carry during his senior season.
All that success had plenty of schools chasing him as a recruit, but Milliner's decision was pretty easy. Milliner's family is full of Crimson Tide fans (subscription required), which influenced his decision to attend Alabama.
Milliner has as much talent as any player in this draft and his intangibles check out as well. There is some rawness in his coverage technique, as he wasn't asked to backpedal much in college. He should work hard to become a good pro, though, and with his talent, that could result in future All-Pro selections.
In sum, Milliner might have more growing pains than a top-tier cornerback should, but GMs should feel confident that he will pan out. Most scouting reports point out his excellent athleticism and nearly unlimited upside.
Built well for the position. Plays with excellent coordination and smooth hips, using his arms and hands to knock down throws. Excellent awareness and read/react ability, getting his head turned and uses his eyes well to quickly find the ball.
Well-built, rangy, instinctive, productive cornerback who has nearly everything
you want in the position. Does not warrant grades on par with some of the
historically elite cover men, but is a Day One starter with Pro Bowl potential.