Would Dee Milliner be able to improve Chargers’ secondary?
By Travis Wakeman
The marriage between the New York Jets and Dee Milliner has never been a good one. The former first-round pick has been a serious underachiever in New York, and a change of scenery seems necessary.
Going into 2016, the San Diego Chargers are going to need to improve the secondary in a hurry. The team has Jason Verrett, but adding another solid cornerback on the opposite side of the field is a must. With Eric Weddle almost certain to move on in free agency, the secondary could become a serious weakness.
Jalen Ramsey would be a great option with the No. 3 overall pick, but could the Chargers be interested in a trade for Jets cornerback Dee Milliner as well? According to the guys over at NFL Mocks, yes they would.
In their trade scenario, the Chargers would get Milliner and the Jets seventh-round pick in exchange for their sixth-round choice. That’s a pretty low-risk option.
Milliner has struggled in New York, mostly because of injuries. He has yet to play in all 16 games during a season in his three-year career, and has played in just eight games the last two seasons combined. As a result, Milliner has just three career interceptions.
With that said, he is only 24 years old and a new atmosphere could create a brand new opportunity for him. Aside from Verrett, the Chargers have Brandon Flowers and Patrick Robinson as the only cornerbacks on the team with much experience as a starter. Milliner could step in and compete for a spot as the team’s nickel back, at the very least.
Milliner came out of Alabama in 2013 and was easily the top rated cornerback in the draft that year. In fact, there were some analysts who made the case that he was the best player in the entire draft that year. In the scouting report provided by Walter Football, Milliner was said to have great hips, quick feet, great length and the ability to be a strong tackler. They also noted very few weaknesses.
Was all of this not true? Did he lose this talent? Or has he just had a rough start to his career? If the Chargers are worried if a player can recover from a slow start after being a first-round pick, they should look no further than Robinson.
After being a first-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2010, Robinson played in six fairly lackluster seasons with the team. In 2015—his first in San Diego—he played in all 16 games of a season for just the second time in his career and now, it seems he could become a integral part of the defense going forward.
If the Chargers could get even a part of Milliner’s playing ability in college, the proposed trade above would absolutely be worth making. If Milliner were to come in and be a complete flop, what would the team be out? A sixth-round pick.
The Chargers should be open to all options after the season the team had last year. Attempting to resurrect the career of a talented player like Milliner should be one of those options.