I was checking out ESPN's "First Draft" podcast, which is the half hour show they do with Mel Kiper Jr and Todd McShay every week leading up the draft and the topic of discussion was the top 5 picks in the draft. The guys tried to figure out who would go where and the typical stuff that goes with that.
What was interesting is that the one name came up in the discussion for every team was Dee Milliner. Kiper especially was pounding the table for the Alabama CB.
"There's only one real legit first round corner and that would be [Dee] Milliner," he said, "All the other guys will be forced."
"Dee Milliner is the one player you move up to get. I think he's worthy of being the #1 pick overall, but in any other draft he wouldn't be. Patrick Peterson will have had a higher grade coming out of college that what Milliner will have coming out of the same conference."
He noted that Milliner blew scouts away when he ran in the 4.3s at the combine, when some expected him to be more in the 4.5 range.
"Milliner with his size, his speed and how technically and fundamentally sound he is... he doesn't have the phenomenal ball skills but he's sound in every other area coming out of Nick Saban's program."
"After Dee Milliner there's major mixed opinion on Desmond Trufant, major mixed opinion on Xavier Rhodes.. some people even think he's going to be a safety. Major mixed opinion on all the guys after whether it's Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Johnthan Banks who ran the slow 40... They're all 2nd round, 3rd round guys. Milliner is the only consensus elite corner."
You can certainly make the argument that the distance between Milliner and the rest of the CB class is wider than that that of the top guys at other positions. At OT, people see Eric Fisher as neck in neck with Luke Joeckel and now Lane Johnson is in that same discussion.
At pass rusher you've got guys like Jordan, Ansah, Mingo, Werner etc. At DT there's Floyd, Lotulelei & Richardson. Those are just the very top, there's probably 2-3 other DTs with first round grades. Even at OG, you've got two elite guys in Warmack and Cooper. At the offensive skill positions, there are virtually no elite prospects.
But at corner, there's Milliner and everyone else. Things change in the draft process and what we think 2 months ago is not always reality, but there were no certainly no other corners seen as first round picks then and maybe not now.
Further, there figures to high demand for corners at the top of the draft. For each team with a top 5 pick, corner is a need. And if there's only one elite corner in this draft, chances are one of them will take him.