Can Dee Milliner revive his career? As we near the end of mandatory minicamp, we can now start to take a look at some players that could make an impact this coming season. Some of these players include Marcus Williams, Jordan Jenkins, Darron Lee, Devin Smith, Erin Henderson, just to name a few. But how about 2013 ninth-overall selection, Dee Milliner. For most of his career, he has been plagued with injuries. It seemed that when he recovered from one injury he would get hurt again. His NFL career certainly didn't start off the way he would've of liked, but there is still hope. Many of the Jets coaches have raved about Milliner's play throughout the OTAs and minicamp. He seems to be playing with more confidence and is more motivated than ever. Jets defensive back coach, Joe Danna, said that Milliner is very intelligent and is up to the challenge. Now that he is getting plenty of first-team reps, he can only get better, especially when your up against big-bodied, physical receivers such as Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. In one of the minicamp practices, Milliner was assigned to cover Marshall and did a very good job. Milliner must play like this consistently and translate his improved skills to the field during the regular season.
When a player gets selected in the top-10 of the NFL draft, big things are expected right out of the gate. He was named as the starting cornerback opposite of Antonio Cromartie, but did make an immediate impact. He got benched on three separate occasions, causing many Jets fans to worry. But the further into the season he got, the better he played. During the final 2 games of the season, he showed the Jets his potential by intercepting the ball 3 times, amassing 10 passes defensed and collecting 12 total tackles. Following his solid performance to the end the season, his expectations for the next season went through the roof. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to continue his good play because of an ankle sprain before the season and an torn Achilles tendon in the middle of the season. In the few games he did play in 2014, he didn't play well, only getting 5 total tackles and only 2 pass defensed. In 2015, the coaches were hoping he would revert back to playing like he did at the end of 2013. But, that wasn't the case. He injured his wrist heading into the season, eventually landing on the PUP list. He returned in early November only to get 1 tackle.
Now that Dee is finally healthy heading into the 2016 season, we are hoping he can finally make an impact for an entire season without any injuries. Like I said before, the coaches have been raving about Milliner. He has improved in almost all facets and is most definitely battling for the cornerback slot that is up for grabs opposite of Darrelle Revis. According to Milliner, he has changed the way he went into this off-season."I did yoga...Did more treatment to myself, you know, just take care of my body more..Ate more healthier and stuff like that". This new off-season routine, according to Milliner, has made him more "flexible" and made his entire body feel better. The question is whether this new off-season routine can help turn his career around. Is it too late? Milliner doesn't think so, stating that "you have to go out there and continue to get better in minicamp... trying to keep things rolling". He also noted that it has been "one of the first times" that he has been able to practice and workout for the entire off-season.
Many early-round draft picks take a while until they reach their potential. Some may never reach it, and some may exceed it. If all goes well, he has a more than fair shot at winning the spot. If not, he might find himself looking for a job come next off-season. Even if he doesn't win the battle, he can still see a fair amount of playing time. The Jets coaches and fans are hoping he revives his career. Let's just hope he stays healthy.