I really liked the selection of Dee Milliner 9th overall in the 2013 NFL draft. He had a near perfect build,. he got a good punch at the line and he had fluid hips with plenty of speed. He needed to improve his tackling, but most CB's do when they come into the league. I was officially excited.
Fast-forward two and a half years and here we stand, still talking about Dee Milliner's "potential". Should you be talking about a top 10 selection over two years down the line with a view to the future production? Unfortunately we have no choice, as we have very little actual production to talk about.
During the Jets press-conference yesterday, it was revealed that Milliner had been sent home due to an illness, a fever. You can't help being ill, and you don't want someone carrying a bug hanging around the facility, infecting everyone else. It did however get me thinking, Dee can't catch a break.
Coming into 2015, Milliner had played a total of 16 games in his career. He managed to get on the field for 13 in 2013 and 3 in 2014. . So far this year, I believe he has appeared on defense in one game. So, of a possible 41 games he could have played in, he has appeared in 17. Outside of a late surge in 2013, he has shown very little and was benched as a rookie. Rex and Todd have complimented him on aspects of his game, but we as fans, have never seen it.
Which really begs the question, will we ever see it?
Milliner came into the NFL having had 5 surgeries during his college career. Idzik looked past the injuries because he hadn't missed any time. However, that's a lot of wear and tear on a young body. Unfortunately for Dee and the Jets, the injuries continued and this time, he was forced to miss considerable time.
The list of injuries is extensive, lets take a quick look
2013 - Achilles tendon injury, Hamstring Injury (3 games missed)
2014 - High Ankle Sprain. Quad Injury. Achilles tendon tear (13 games missed)
2015 - Illness. Wrist injury. (8 games missed - so far)
When Milliner does return, he'll be floundering at the bottom of the depth chart. Revis, Cromartie, Skrine and Williams will all be above him for certain. Then he'll be fighting with Walls and McDougle for that #5 spot. I still think Milliner has talent, but I'm starting to think that he'll never be able to show it. You can't climb the depth chart without playing, you can't play if you're always injured.
The Jets had a top 10 selection and unfortunately, they're not receiving top 10 production. As a result, it may be getting to the point where its time to move on from Milliner. He is signed through the 2016 season, and with minimal savings if he is cut pre June (around $1.5 million), it may make sense to give him one more go, one more chance to prove that A) he can stay healthy and B) he can produce on the field.
If Cromartie doesn't improve over the final 7 games of the season, he may end up being a cap casualty which would leave the door ajar for Milliner to stake a claim for a starting spot. However he's had too many injuries to rely on that to happen, and personally I would argue that Marcus Williams is the better CB full stop.
Milliners career is still young. He'll only turn 25 this off-season, so if he can stay healthy, he could still be a productive player. However would anyone be willing to bet money on him playing a full season? I know I wouldn't. At the moment he is considered a draft bust. Personally I don't like using that term until the career is over and we can analyze the full body of work. However he certainly is a draft disappointment.