Do Dee Milliner's combine workouts put him into play for the Lions at No. 5?

Posted Feb 26, 2013

After stressing that he would impress with his workouts this week, Alabama CB Dee Milliner runs two sub-4.4 40s

INDIANAPOLIS – Dee Milliner had a simple message to the media Sunday when he was questioned about his athleticism.

"Watch the NFL Combine," he said.

Anyone who watched Milliner run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine Tuesday shouldn't have any more questions about his athleticism after running a 4.31 and 4.37 (unofficially).

Milliner has been considered the best cornerback available in April's NFL Draft dating back to the college season, but the one question mark analysts have been asking is whether Milliner was an elite athlete like some of the first cornerbacks taken in previous years.

Milliner put those questions to bed.

"Anytime somebody doubts, you, it's like they get into it with you," Milliner said. "So, I like to go out when people say that, try to prove them wrong, try to go out there and make a big difference when they talk about me."

His workout Tuesday cements his status as a top 10 pick. But did it put him into play for the Lions at No. 5?

It should.

Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew told reporters at the Combine that the Lions covet speed in their secondary.

"I think we know what fast is," he said. "We like fast. I think if you're bigger, there may be a little bit of wiggle room in terms of the actual time. It depends on how you're going to play a guy, too.

"If you want to play a Cover 2 scheme or play a lot of press-man, and you've got a guy with some length that can disrupt routes at the line of scrimmage, that helps.

"But we like fast - guys that run fast. Guys that can run sub-4.5 I would say are fast."

Milliner measured just under 6-foot and, at 200 pounds, has good size for the position. He's also a physical corner on film.

The Lions selected three cornerbacks – Bill Bentley, Chris Greenwood, and Jonte Green – last year, but could still have a need at the position if Chris Houston leaves via free agency.

There's still the issue of shoulder surgery with Milliner, which is scheduled for March 12. The repair to his Labrum will require three or four months of rehab and will prevent him from participating in rookie mini-camp, OTAs and the offseason training program. That's a concern for a team like the Lions who've dealt with their fair share of shoulder injuries.

But Milliner proved he's an elite athlete and, combined with his game tape, makes him a terrific prospect good enough for the No. 5 selection.

Will he be the pick for the Lions at No. 5 as some have speculated?

We'll find out in a little less than two months.