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Milliner surgery could alter Bucs draft plans

Posted Feb 21, 2013 by Roy Cummings

Updated Feb 21, 2013 at 11:32 AM


BY ROY CUMMINGS
Tribune Staff

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Bucs hopes of improving their pass defense in this year’s draft may have taken a bit of hit on Thursday.

Word here at the scouting combine is that Dee Milliner, the Alabama cornerback who is considered the best player at his position in the draft, has a torn right labrum and will have shoulder surgery to repair the damage after his pro day on March 13.

The 6-foot-1, 189-pound Milliner is still expected to participate in combine drills this week, but the news of the injury and impending surgery could dramatically affect his draft status.

Milliner is considered a top-10 worthy talent by some draft experts, but others such as Mike Mayock of the NFL Network and NBC Sports believe Milliner is more of a late first-round talent and will need to run a sub 4.5-second 40-yard dash to earn top 10 status.

Of course, that Mayock’s thinking before the news of his torn labrum came out. That news could drop Milliner’s stock below that of fellow corners such as Johnthan Banks of Mississippi State and Desmond Trufant of Washington.

The Bucs, who had the NFL’s worst pass defense last year, are in the market for uprades at the cornerback position, where injuries, suspensions and the trade of Aqib Talib left them inexperienced and vulnerable.

Milliner is among the players the Bucs are believed to be targeting with the 13th overall selection in the draft, so it’s quite possible the news of his injury and surgery could force them to alter their plans.

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