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Jets and the 2014 NFL Draft: Rookie Corners Struggle

USA TODAY Sports

Darryl Slater has a terrific article today examining the typical poor play of rookie cornerbacks.

Ideally, [former NFL cornerback Eric] Davis said, a rookie corner should be a situational player, rather than an every-down starter, because the frenetic mental and physical pace of the position is tougher to adjust to than others.

"Running back, linebackers, d-linemen, offensive linemen, you’re in the bike lane, man," [former NFL cornerback Eric] Davis said. "You’re in the pedestrian lane. You get outside the numbers, that’s the Autobahn. High-speed collisions, and there’s a fatality in every one of them."
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"The hardest positions, for me, in the National Football League, No. 1 is quarterback and the No. 2 is corner," said Jerry Reese, the Giants’ general manager. "Everybody else is running forward, and you’re running backwards. That’s not easy."

I strongly encourage you to click over to read the story.

In an ideal situation, a team enters the NFL Draft with no holes. You never want to be in a position where your team needs a rookie to perform on day one. It takes time for many players to adjust. That goes double for certain positions, like cornerback.

Milliner having problems were to be expected. Trends indicates that rookie corners struggle a ton. Maybe Milliner will get better. Maybe he won't, but problems as a rookie were no surprise. Here and there you have a special player like Darrelle Revis in 2007 who comes in and plays well off the bat, but these are the exception.

There is certainly good reason for the Jets to look to take a corner early. A good prospect can help the team for years to come. It is probably more likely than not, however, that any corner the Jets take is going to be a liability when stuck on the outside for an entire game just as Milliner was. For all of the splashy moves this offseason brought, I can't help but wonder whether the Jets might live to regret not doing more in a deep free agent class at the position.