Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner thinks he's the best defensive back in the 2013 NFL Draft, and although he has surgery scheduled next month for a torn labrum, he wanted to back up that confidence at this year's combine.

"I didn't just want to sit out the combine and pro day, and then y'all guys get to wondering this and that," Milliner said Sunday.

Milliner is considered the draft's top cornerback, but some analysts, like ESPN's Mel Kiper, have questioned whether or not he has the elite speed and athleticism to be the first cornerback selected in the draft.

Asked how he'd silence doubters, Milliner said, "Watch the NFL Combine."

"I feel like I am the best DB in this (draft)," he said. "No offense to all the other DBs. I just believe in what I can do and the plays I can make."

The Lions certainly will consider Milliner with the fifth overall pick after inconsistency in the secondary the past few seasons. Top cornerback Chris Houston is an unrestricted free agent, and even if the Lions re-sign him, they don't have a player who's locked up the No. 2 cornerback position.

In last year's draft, the Lions drafted three cornerbacks — Bill Bentley, Chris Greenwood and Jonte Green. Bentley was impressive in training camp, but after three starts (four total games), he ended the season on injured reserve, requiring surgery on his shoulder.

Greenwood missed the entire season on the physically unable to perform list (abdomen). Green struggled at the start of the season, but started five games after injuries ravaged the defensive backfield.

"We have great confidence in those guys as football players over the long term of their careers," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said Friday. "Hard to put a timetable on when those guys are going to be able to start for us."

Veteran Ron Bartell could also be in line to play after signing at the end of the season.



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130224/SPORTS0101/302240344#ixzz2LvBS2OG7