Milliners rookie season began with him being stuck between a rock and a hard place. With little to no production, he was benched three times by head coach Rex Ryan though out the course of the year. Seemingly overcast by the shadow of Darrell Reeves, many questioned if the rookie cornerback out of Alabama was nothing more then a 1st round draft bust.
Heavily criticized in the New York spotlight and throughout other sports media outlets for his poor mechanics, inconsistent performances, penalties and a shoulder injury that lead to a late start in camp last summer, Milliners potential was blanketed by his flaws. Constantly being out of position and having to chase down receivers, Jets fans, as well as critics, saw the young cornerback drawing unnecessary flags. Costing crucial yardage for a solid but often overworked Jets defense.
Mid to late season Milliner began to develop and display the qualities of a 1st round draft pick. Coming off of a bye in week 10, the rookie cornerback showed definite improvement. Despite the Jets three game losing streak in weeks 11 - 13 Milliner managed to total up 4 defended passes and 11 solo tackles against Buffalo, Baltimore & Miami. This display of improvement would continue into week 14 when a troubled Oakland offense traveled to NY where the rookie CB began to hone his technique and mechanical skills.
Utilizing his natural athletic abilities combined with mentoring from veteran safety Ed Reed and continuous support from head coach Rex Ryan, Milliner appeared to be a diamond in the rough. Ending the season with 10 defended passes and 3 interceptions, totaling for 31 yards in the last two games (Hosting Cleveland Week 16 & On the road in Miami week 17) while bringing home the AFC Defensive player of the week award.
Playing his rookie year opposite, a once viewed, shutdown corner, now injury plagued, Antonio Cromartie, who was released by the team earlier this year. The Jets then failed to acquire replacement CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (cousin to Antonio Cromartie) among others. many pondered as to who would be the one to step up in his place. According to NY Jets LB David Harris in an interview conducted with Eric Allen for nyjets.com Harris stated the following:
"He has a lot of potential, a lot of talent and hopefully some big shoes to fill. Losing Antonino Cromartie is a big low for us. Hopefully he's ready to step up when his number is called...he's the man now"