A few quick thoughts on the New York Jets selection of Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner with the 9th overall pick, along with a few predictions for tonight
With the 9th overall pick the New York Jets were preparing to take West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin. However, after a somewhat surprising trade-up by the St. Louis Rams to snatch him away (Thanks Buffalo!), the Jets went with Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner.
I don’t doubt for a second that Milliner could have been the highest ranked defensive player on the Jets board. He was considered by many to be a top five overall talent and has the skill set and pedigree to be valued as the best secondary player in this draft. He is also one of the safer players taken in the top 15. It is hard to see Milliner not stepping in immediately and becoming a very competent starter right out of the gates.
We know Rex Ryan loves to leave his corners without support in coverage. Milliner can man up on the outside across from Antonio Cromartie and won’t lack the ability or confidence to handle the responsibility. Forget comparing him to Darrelle Revis. Nobody is Darrelle Revis. What Milliner should be is an immediate upgrade to Kyle WIlson, who doesn’t deserve to be anything more than a nickel back. If Milliner develops like he should in the Jets defensive system, he could quickly form one of the better cornerback duos in the NFL with Cromartie.
It is always encouraging to have a player from a team like Alabama who competed against the top teams college football and had immense success. The jump from high-end SEC football to the NFL shouldn’t be a major culture shock for Milliner.
The Jets defensive system places a high value on cornerbacks. With the departure of Darrelle Revis, Milliner was clearly too tempting to pass up after Austin was no longer an option.
A few thoughts on tonight -
1. It is clear the Jets devalue the outside linebacker position and hope to generate pass rush through their defensive line and by having an elite secondary to hold coverage. Do not expect the Jets to target an outside linebacker in the 2nd or 3rd round.
2. If Geno Smith is on the board at #39…a big if at this point…the Jets aren’t going to pass on him. I haven’t been hesitant to criticize Geno on this site as a potential top ten pick…in the second round? He does provide good value and would be a smart option to add immediate competition and talent to the quarterback position. He should also be playing with a big chip on his shoulder if taken at that point. A Smith selection would mean the Jets will be releasing a quarterback in the following couple of weeks after the draft.
3. Keep an eye on tight ends and wide receivers, particularly Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce, Markus Wheaton, and Steadman Bailey.
4. A couple of other names to watch – Jonathan Cyprien, DJ Swearinger, and Larry Warford.