Jets

Milliner: Even If They Draft Someone, I’m The Jets’ No. 1 Corner

Coming Off Strong Finish To Rookie Season, Ex-Alabama Stud Says He'll Shine
Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets greets Dee Milliner #27. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets greets Dee Milliner #27. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s no secret the Jets need a cornerback. Their general manager has been criticized for not getting one during free agency while letting veteran Antonio Cromartie walk.

Dee Milliner, whom the Jets took with the No. 9 overall pick in last year’s draft, said, sure, his team does need a corner — just not a No. 1 corner.

As far as he’s concerned they already have one.

“Yes I do,” Milliner said, when asked by the Daily News if he thinks he’s the best corner the Jets have. “I’ve got to go out there and take it as, ‘I’m the No. 1 guy, step up.’”

While no one is disputing whether Milliner should be starting for the Jets, the assignments he draws during the 2014 season may very well depend on what John Idzik does starting Thursday at the NFL Draft. Nearly every draft expert has at least mentioned the Jets as possible suitors for any one of the top three available corners — Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State, Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State and Kyle Fuller of Virginia Tech.

All three are projected as first-round picks and with this draft considered quite deep at the Jets’ other glaring position of need, wide receiver, it is possible the Jets grab the corner with the 18th pick in the first round and deal with getting more pass-catching options for Geno Smith and Michael Vick later.

Milliner’s NFL career started slowly, in-part due to offseason surgery, as it took him several months to get up to speed and to start making an impact for the Jets. Then, in December, everyone started to see why Idzik drafted the former star out of Alabama. Milliner had three interceptions in the final two games of the season as the Jets fought and clawed their way to a surprising 8-8 record.

Cromartie had by his standards a very underwhelming season, one that was hampered by injuries. The Jets chose to let him walk to Arizona during free agency. Milliner said he learned a lot from Cromartie and plans to pick up where he left off.

“I still talk to him and whatever, because he was the guy that helped me out when I first got here,” Milliner said. “Since he’s gone now, I’ve got to be more of a vocal guy, set an example, a leader back in the secondary.”

Milliner said he expects to be the Jets’ impact player in the secondary going forward, regardless of whomever is playing on the other side.

“Yeah I want to do that because the best receivers are going to get the ball, and you want balls thrown at you so you can make more plays on the ball,” Milliner said.

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