“The best corner in the league? I’m not going to say somebody that plays the same position is better than me,” said Milliner, 22, who Gang Green took with the ninth pick in April 2013.
“Don’t care if they’ve been in the league 10 years and I’ve been here five months. That’s how it’s going to go. I’m the best.”
Cornerback is an extremely difficult position to get acclimated to and Milliner seemingly never healed from undergoing the knife to fix a torn labrum in his right shoulder a month before the draft.
Accordingly, the 6-foot, 200-pound Milliner struggled mightily from the outset and was repeatedly benched by Rex Ryan.
The sputtering youngster displayed substandard footwork, ineffectively backpedaled, lacked timing, and often aimlessly lunged at ball carriers.
On the positive, Milliner was used in various coverage schemes and proved to be a gifted hitter who understands zone concepts.
Adapting to the professional game, Milliner flourished toward the wintertime and was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month in December.
A 2012 unanimous All-American who is capable of completing the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds, Milliner successfully defended 17 passes, snagged three interceptions, and made 56 tackles in 13 games as a Jet.
However, wasting the efforts of a standout front seven, the Jets’ secondary was unsteady and yielded roughly 4,000 yards in the air last autumn.
To strengthen that weak unit, general manager John Idzik acquired badass Calvin Pryor and cornerback Dex McDougle.
Pryor is an utter menace and, provided his shoulder is mended, McDougle could mature into a solid ballplayer.
As the Seattle Seahawks showed in February, defense still wins championships.
No longer grounded by the league’s 29th ranked offense, the Jets could qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
In actuality, even if nowhere near “the best,” the Jets will fly into the postseason if Dee Milliner develops into a shutdown cornerback.by