Jan 7, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver DaVaris Daniels (10) makes a catch against Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Dee Milliner (28) during the second half of the 2013 BCS Championship game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama's Dee Milliner, MSU's Darius Slay are 1-2 in the 40-Yard Dash Among Defensive Backs


Here we are on the final day of the 2013 NFL Combine, focusing in on the defensive backs. By the way, I noticed a lot of linebackers yesterday were converted safeties, which explains some of the good 40-times we saw.

Speed is becoming more and more of an emphasis on all positions in the NFL in recent years because of the emphasis on the passing game. I think the days of a 300 pound MLB, like local hero and Pittsburgh Steeler LB Levon Kirkland. He could move more a man his size, but wasn’t exactly a sub 4.6 speedster.

The prime physical trait coaches look for in corners especially is speed, and the official times for the drill are now in. Here are the results:

#1 Darius Slay, Mississippi State, 4.36

#2 Dee Milliner, Alabama, 4.37

#3 Desmond Trufant, Washington, 4.38

T-4 Robert Alford, SE Louisiana, 4.39

T-4 Jamar Taylor, Boise State, 4.39

#6 Brandon McGee, Miami, 4.40

T-7 Sanders Commings, Georgia, 4.41

T-7 Kayvon Webster, South Florida, 4.41

T-9 Rod Sweeting, Georgia Tech, 4.42

T-9 Steve Williams, California, 4.42

All defensive backs that were in the top-fifteen ran under a 4.50 40-yard dash.

This drill was especially telling and helpful to Dee Milliner, who was thought to be a little long and therefore a bit slow for an NFL corner.

Not so.

He measured out at 6′ even while I had been under the impression he was more of a player in the Richard Sherman mold. Sherman ran in the mid 4.5′s at his combine. Milliner may not have exceptional size for a corner, but he’s got very nice size with 201 lbs on that frame. He had a decent vertical leap with 36 inches, and a very nice broad jump at 122 inches…or 10 feet, 2 inches.

The end result is that he’s probably solidified not only his stranglehold as the top CB in the draft, but he could have locked himself into the top-5. With the issues the Detroit Lions have in the secondary, a player like Milliner is unlikely to slip past that organization. They have the #5 pick overall, and may be in the best position to trade down as a result, depending on what they’re looking for.

While I’m certain they’d love to have Milliner, a downward trade could yield them a 2-for-1 if they want to add to their front-seven. They could let Cliff Avril walk in free agency and if you see them doing that, they’re either targeting a top DE at #5 or one of the offensive tackles, like the super-athletic LT Lane Johnson from Oklahoma.

This is a year where fans need to watch the free agency start, March 12th, very closely.

Follow me on Twitter @Ken_Dye

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