Dee Milliner to start for Jets

Updated: August 6, 2013, 4:11 PM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- In the first New York Jets training camp since the departure of Darrelle Revis, it has taken rookie Dee Milliner just a week to win the starting job opposite Antonio Cromartie.

"I feel very comfortable with Dee being out there in regular personnel situations," Jets coach Rex Ryan said Tuesday.

Kyle Wilson was the leading candidate for Revis' old job until the moment Milliner signed his contract.

On the first day Milliner put on pads, he was on the field with the first team. Since then he has shown he can compete there, and the Jets' first depth chart had Milliner over Wilson.

Like Revis, Milliner held out during the start of his first NFL training camp. Milliner, the ninth overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, ultimately signed a $12.66 million deal on July 28, missing a little more than a week's worth of practices. There was some question as to how ready he'd be to play given that he had shoulder surgery during the offseason and he hadn't practiced with the team during the spring.

Cromartie said the 21-year-old Alabama product was "playing great."

[+] EnlargeDee Milliner
Rich Barnes/USA TODAY SportsDee Milliner has already earned a starting cornerback spot for the Jets.

"He's getting a lot of pounding on his shoulder and everything," Cromartie said. "So for him it's just getting the reps and getting the physical part down for that shoulder."

Ryan has gone out of his way to say that Milliner is not a replacement for Revis. Now in Tampa, Revis was widely considered one of the top corners in the sport before tearing his ACL last September. Those are some pretty big shoes for Milliner to fill, and he said he's getting used to the new job.

"You know after the first week or so, I was good," Milliner said. "I was caught up with everything. Like I said it's just getting out there and doing more reps now and doing more plays and getting more into it as we go."

Ryan qualified the rapid ascent of the rookie -- from unsigned to starter in just a week -- by saying that he plans to play more than two cornerbacks.

"With Kyle, in this day and age you start three corners and basically it's just who's your corner going to be in regular personnel," Ryan said. "That's almost what it's become. Kyle gives you a lot of flexibility in that in the fact he can play nickel, he can play outside, he can play inside, he can play safety."

The Jets have one true starting safety in Dawan Landry, but have been auditioning Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett in the other starting slot.

Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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