There are some potentially harmful words about Dee Milliner buried beneath many other words written by the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane this morning.
So let’s detonate that dynamite right away here off the top.
Milliner has been widely projected as the top cornerback in this year’s draft, and McLane was surely motivated to write about the Alabama product because the team he’s paid to cover could employ him soon. The Eagles hold the fourth overall pick, and after watching as Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie walked this offseason and Nnamdi Asomugh was cut, an elite corner is desperately needed beyond the current bridge solutions set to start in Philadelphia (Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher).
But if they choose to chase Milliner, the Eagles may be drafting damaged goods.
Milliner ran at the Scouting Combine despite having a torn labrum in his shoulder. Now, McLane reports there’s a chance he won’t be ready for training camp. If that happens, the draft grind can be blamed
It seems the constant visits with teams leave little time for actual football things. Like, say, rehabbing an injury that could prevent the player in question from being healthy for Week 1.
“We haven’t been able to do the rehab like I want to because I’ve been going to different teams,” Milliner said. “But once the draft is over, I’ll be able to start to rehab it and try to get back on track.”
Let’s maintain some perspective before your toe creeps over that ledge. It’s training camp, and although that’s rather important for a rookie at any position, it’s still…well, training camp. Milliner had surgery last month, meaning he has six months to recover before he’ll be asked to play a meaningful snap.
While there’s always a need to be at least somewhat hesitant when your shiny new first-round pick already has an injury before he’s played a single game, this injury won’t significantly impact Milliner’s 2013 season.
But combine this with the recent rumbles in the draftnik community, and suddenly there’s reason to wonder if Milliner could be set up for at least a slight tumble. Last week Mike Mayock ranked his top cornerbacks, and he favored D.J. Hayden over Milliner, and Xavier Rhodes isn’t far behind.
Last year three cornerbacks were drafted in the top 20 (Morris Claiborne, Stephon Gilmore, and Dre Kirkpatrick). We could easily see a repeat of that, or more.