While many other cornerbacks, like Johnthan Banks, Desmond Trufant, and Xavier Rhodes, have slid up and down the draft board since the season has ended, one man has remained at the top. Dee Milliner of Alabama is unquestionably the best cornerback in this year’s draft; only “look-at-me” draft “experts” claim that another corner is superior. Milliner is big enough, fast enough, and talented enough to merit the top spot on the cornerback rankings this year, with his only notable weaknesses being a lack of starting experience and less than perfect technique on his backpedal.
So is he a player the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should target? Obviously, this discussion has to assume the Buccaneers retain the 13th overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, which would also mean Darrelle Revis would likely remain a New York Jet. If the Buccaneers are able to negotiate a deal in which they keep the 13th pick and get Revis, the need to trade up to select a cornerback would be obviously reduced, so we’ll operate under the assumption that Revis is not a Buccaneer, and Eric Wright remains atop the Tampa Bay cornerback depth chart.
Milliner will not last until the 13th pick, because at the very, very least, the Miami Dolphins would select Milliner with the 12th selection, should the first 11 teams shockingly pass on the Alabama product. So if Milliner is available at the 11th pick, currently held by the San Diego Chargers, is that worth a trade up?
Scenario 1: Milliner available at number 11, trade pick 13 and two fourth round picks for the 11th pick.
This scenario is 100% worth it. The Buccaneers would be able to move up for a reasonable price tag, and snag a very good cornerback with very little given up to do so. The Chargers will likely be lacking in options at the offensive tackle position at 11, and won’t be opposed to trading down. The Buccaneers would offer extra value to the Chargers to make sure they don’t accept any offers from other teams looking to move up, and it would be a good deal for either side. The Bolts would still have a top 15 pick, and would pick up extra mid round choices for their dealings.
Scenario 2: Milliner is available at number 6, trade pick 13 and a second and fourth round pick for the 6th pick.
This is where it starts to get interesting. If the Jets still have Revis, they won’t want to take him, and it’s unlikely that the Cardinals would select a corner. The Bills might consider taking him, but will almost certainly take a quarterback or receiver. The Titans are likely going to address their offensive line, or are otherwise considered unlikely to take a corner. So between 7 and 11, there are no teams who have a standout need for a corner. The Browns had Joe Haden, and lack in talent across from him, and would be tempted to select Milliner with the sixth pick. However, should the Buccaneers offer an attractive enough set of picks, they might consider moving down and taking Xavier Rhodes or another rookie in the second or third round, and accepting the Buccaneers’ offer to swap first rounders. I think this is reaching the point of being too rich to be worth it for the Buccaneers, and I’d put it at about 33% acceptability. This one hinges on Milliner being an absolute stud in the NFL.
Scenario 3: Milliner is available at number 2, trade pick 13 and a second, third, and a future first for the 2nd pick.
This might be what it takes to bring in Milliner, and now you reach the point where you might as well have traded for Revis. The Jaguars have plenty of needs, and might be willing to trade down, but at what cost? They’ll want a king’s ransom for the pick, and the Buccaneers would have to give up a set of picks that eclipses the cost of acquiring Revis. Milliner would come cheaper than Darrelle, and he doesn’t have a reconstructed knee, but I’m still not convinced there is that much more value in Milliner. This has a 0% rating from me, and I can’t see Mark Dominik being interested in a proposal like this, either.
So what do you think, Buccaneer fans? Leave your thoughts on Dee Milliner, and if he’s worth trading up to acquire.