Former Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner doesn't lack confidence in his abilities.
"I feel like I am the best DB in this draft," Milliner said at the scouting combine in February. "No offense to the other DBs, I just believe in what I can do and the plays I can make. The physical style I play with is different from some cornerbacks.”
Milliner hasn’t changed his tune over the last two months, exuding the same confidence in Allen Park on Monday during a pre-draft visit to the Detroit Lions’ headquarters.
“It’s just always been me growing up,” Milliner said Monday. “Playing any position you have to have confidence, but especially defensive back. I have faith in what I’m going out there to do and I’ve kept that all the way from when I was younger to now.”
Considered the best cornerback available in the draft, Milliner had surgery on March 12 to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder.
Milliner was back in Indianapolis this past weekend to see doctors about that shoulder one last time before the draft.
He told Detroitlions.com that he got good news about the injury and his surgery and that he is on track in his recovery and will be ready to hit the field for whichever team drafts him by August.
“They looked at the MRIs and X-rays and it showed everything was cleaned up from surgery and now it’s just up to me to rehab and get back,” he said.
“It’s a long process with the labrum, but they say (by) August I should be back with training camp and preseason and all of that.”
The injury didn’t prevent Milliner from participating in workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, where he turned in times of 4.31 and 4.37 in the 40-yard dash. He struggled in some drills – possibly because of the shoulder – but his 40-time cemented his status as the draft’s top available cornerback.
Could he be the pick for Lions at No. 5?
The Lions return four players –
The Lions covet speed and physicality in their secondary and Milliner (6-0, 201) would bring both to the table. He'd compete for the starting right cornerback spot opposite Chris Houston from Day 1 in training camp and would likely enter camp as the favorite to win the spot.
Last season, Milliner finished with 54 tackles, four-for-loss, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble and two interceptions helping to lead Alabama to the BCS National Championship. He led the SEC and the nation with 22 passes defended.
The Lions have not drafted a cornerback in the first round since Terry Fair in 1998.