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Dee Milliner wants to be Jets shutdown CB

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Dee Milliner thinks he can be the team's No. 1 receiver. (USATSI)
Dee Milliner thinks he can be the team's No. 1 receiver. (USATSI)

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For most of his rookie season, 2013 first-round draft pick Dee Milliner was unimpressive as a cornerback for the Jets. He was benched multiple times by coach Rex Ryan, and according to Pro Football Focus, he allowed seven touchdown passes while quarterbacks throwing his way recorded an 88.6 rating.

But at the end of the season, Milliner improved, grabbing three interceptions in the final two games of the season, and two years after Darrelle Revis was the team's No.1 cornerback and a season after Antonio Cromartie took over the role, Milliner wants it to be his turn in 2014.

“I've got to go out there and take it as, ‘I'm the No. 1 guy, step up,'" Milliner told the NY Daily News.

That, I imagine, is what the Jets would prefer after having drafted Milliner with the No. 9 overall pick. But Jets coach Rex Ryan wasn't happy with him early in the season, sending him to the bench during a loss to the Patriots

"Well, this young man is going to be a tremendous player. There is no doubt," Ryan said at the time. "But as I told him, I said, 'You know, Dee. I want you to sit on the sidelines and I want you to watch.' And sometimes when you do that, it is the best thing for you."

We'll get to see if Milliner is up for his newest task, considering the Jets released Cromartie -- who struggled as the team's shutdown corner last season -- this offseason.

“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.”

This, however, doesn't preclude New York from grabbing a cornerback early in this week's draft. While the Jets have plenty of needs on offense, three of the five CBSSports.com mock drafters predict the Jets will grab secondary help (two have Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert and one thinks it'll be Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard), while the other two say New York will go with tight end Eric Ebron or receiver Odell Beckham.

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