Former top-ten draft pick Dee Milliner has found his name in the game notes for the wrong reasons — the oft-injured Alabama alum is finally healthy after spending the first half of the 2015 season on the Short Term Injured Reserved list, wrapping up the year with a hamstring injury that sidelined him for the final two games.
2016 marks the first offseason that Milliner has been fully healthy since being drafted and believes his best is just around the corner.
When asked if the full offseason will help his game, he replied, "I think it will. Like I said, you get acquainted with your teammates, the people you'll be out there with, you go out there and get involved in the system, so it's cool."
Team Finishes OTA Stage of the Offseason Training Program
Milliner, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal, has an opportunity to make an instant impact on the field — there is a spot up for grabs opposite All-Pro corner Darrelle Revis.
According to defensive backs coach Joe Danna, the outside is "the natural spot for him, but he's got a unique football intelligence and when you have that and you've got some instincts about playing the game, I think that does open up some other possibilities so we'll see where it goes."
His "unique football intelligence" isn't limited to the gridiron. Similar to most wily vets, Milliner takes care of his body in the offseason. This year's secret? Yoga.
"I think it helped me. I feel more flexible, my legs feel better, my body just feels better," he said. When asked if it gives him more peace of mind, he chuckled and replied, "Yeah, you could say that too."
Today in minicamp, Milliner was assigned the tall task of lining up opposite Brandon Marshall — and he rose to the occasion. He read a screen beautifully and followed up later with two pass breakups, on both of which he blanketed his matchup. Today's performance caught the eye of head coach Todd Bowles.
Bowles said, "well the big thing is he's healthy, you know, and the more reps he gets the better. And I guess his confidence will grow because he hasn't played in a while. So I'm hoping that continues once training camp starts."