recorded six interceptions over his three seasons at Alabama. (LM Otero/AP)
Dee Milliner may still be the top cornerback prospect on the 2013 NFL Draft board, but his stock took a bit of a hit Thursday, when it was revealed that the ex-Alabama star will require shoulder surgery following the combine.
As first reported by ESPN, Milliner needs to have a torn labrum in his right shoulder repaired before the 2013 NFL season. He will participate in all drills other than the bench press at the combine, then go under the knife sometime before Alabama's March 13 Pro Day, according to the NFL Network's Albert Breer.
"The doctors have informed us that he will be 100 percent and fully recovered in time for training camp in July," Milliner's agent, Tony Fleming, told ESPN.
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Even so, Milliner is likely to be unable to participate in rookie mini-camps and OTAs following the draft. That alone may be enough to cause him to slide a tad in Round 1, even if he should be ready in time for the 2013 season.
Milliner was ranked as the draft No. 6 prospect on our last draft Big Board, and various NFL experts have had him being selected as high as fifth (Detroit) or sixth (Cleveland) in mock drafts, including our Don Banks, who had Milliner joining the Browns.
His pending surgery, however, could allow some other cornerback prospects -- Desmond Trufant, Xavier Rhodes, Johnthan Banks and Jordan Poyer, to name a few -- to close the gap at the position. All of those players are expected to participate in full at the combine.
Injuries often take center stage at the combine. This year is no different, with Milliner's issue added to injury woes for the likes of Matt Barkley and Dion Jordan. Part of the challenge for NFL scouts, GMs and coaches over the next several days is determining how those problems will affect a player's future performance.
There is no reason to believe Milliner will fail to get back to full health. But even a small, anticipated delay in his preseason availability could impact where Milliner comes off the board on April 25.
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