Friday, December 26, 2014

The Milliner's Tale: Watch Me Run

Dee Milliner brought the goods, just as he predicted he would when Milliner met with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine Sunday.

The Milliner's Tale: Watch Me Run

Alabama defensive back Dee Milliner runs the 40-yard dash during the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Alabama defensive back Dee Milliner runs the 40-yard dash during the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Dee Milliner brought the goods, just as he predicted he would when Milliner met with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine Sunday.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said Sunday the big question about Milliner, the Alabama corner, was his "long speed." Milliner tore up the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium Tuesday with an unofficial 4.31 40, buttressing his assertion Sunday that anyone who doubted his athleticism should "watch the NFL Combine."

This was good news for Eagles fans, who have unofficially adopted Milliner as their favorite prospect after an exasperating interlude with Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha, but nearly two months before the draft, we're still a long way from the Eagles taking Milliner fourth overall.

Mayock declared Tuesday, "Milliner, we know what he is now," but that might not be entirely true. Maybe Mayock's only concern was long speed, but Milliner intercepted only two passes last season, doesn't seem to have great ball skills. And running the 40 fast doesn't mean you have great coverage instincts. Milliner, 6-0, 201, played a super-aggressive style at Alabama, didn't really backpedal and drop the way NFL corners have to much of the time.

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"I coulda had (the surgery) right after the (national championship) game, but I felt the need that I had to come out and do something," Milliner said. "I ain't just want to sit out the combine and my pro day, and then y'all guys get to wonderin', sayin' this and that. I wanted to come out and at least showcase that I can still move around, I can run, and I can swing my arm around."

He's certainly a more viable option at 4, pending shoulder surgery and all, than he was before Tuesday, but the real top value there might still be an offensive or defensive lineman. Milliner could increase the value of that fourth pick, if another team covets him and the Eagles want to move down and add a pick or two, which seems like a pretty good idea, given the range of their needs.

Milliner gets props for working out in Indy, delaying the labrum surgery, which doesn't seem to be a big deal.

Speaking of needs, it's great for the Eagles that this is such a deep safety class. Watch those guys carefully. The Eagles won't take one in the first round unless they trade down, but if they get through the second and third rounds without adding a safety, it'll be a huge upset.

Les Bowen Daily News Staff Writer
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