If there is an area on the Lions roster that needs to be addressed most it’s the secondary, which was a revolving door of players due to injuries last season.
In the 2012 NFL draft the Lions addressed their issues at the cornerback position with Bill Bentley (third round), Chris Greenwood (fifth round) and Jonte Green (sixth round). The Lions also signed corner Jacob Lacey in free agency, who started sporadically for the Lions when he was healthy.
The Lions intend to improve with a big athletic corner and Dee Milliner fits the bill. Milliner is the best cornerback in the draft with great size at 6-1, 198 lbs. He isn’t as athletic as Patrick Peterson or Morris Claiborne, the first corners taken in the 2011 and 2012 drafts, but he is just as good of a cover corner as both players if not better. Milliner doesn’t come down with very many interceptions because his speed and leaping ability aren’t elite, but he is always in a great position to make plays because of his exceptional awareness and read/reaction ability.
Traits and Projected Round
Prototypical size for an NFL corner and great ball skills when playing the pass and excellent in run support. Milliner is projected to be a top five to ten pick after he dazzled scouts at the combine posting 4.31 and a 4.38 forty times, proving he is an elite athlete.
Why the Lions Should Draft Milliner
He’s exactly what the Lions are looking for in their defensive backfield. Good size and durability, he can covering bigger NFL receivers, he’s good in run support, makes plays on the ball, and most importantly, he would start right away. Last season, the Lions addressed the cornerback position, but for depth, with Bill Bentley and Jonte Green, and for a the future, with Chris Greenwood (Greenwood was drafted out of Albion, a division III school in Michigan and is viewed as a developmental player). It’s time the Lions draft a player in the secondary that can start from day one.
The video below contains highlights from Dee Milliner. Watch his physicality in both the run and the pass game. Milliner’s toughness is the most intriguing part about his game and that could go a long way for the Lions’ front office after watching the secondary get beat time and time again last season.