Let’s start with a tweet from Manish Mehta, a New York Jets and NFL writer for the New York Daily News:
John Idzik said Dee Milliner & Sheldon Richardson were 2 of Top 4 on Jets board. The other 2? Tavon Austin & Chance Warmack. #nyj
— Manish Mehta(@MMehtaNYDN) April 26, 2013
The Jets had the No. 9 and No. 13 picks in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Tennessee Titans had the No. 10 pick. Both teams had similar needs at offensive guard, cornerback and on the interior of the defensive line. Chance Warmack, Dee Milliner and Sheldon Richardson all fell into the category of needs that these teams had to address.
For the Jets, their Top 4 draft board took a hit when Tavon Austin was drafted at No. 8. They ended up taking two of the three remaining players on their board: Milliner (No. 9) and Richardson (No. 13). After Milliner went off the board, that gave the Titans the go-ahead to draft arguably the best offensive guard prospect in the last decade.
What if Milliner were drafted before No. 9? From picks No. 3-6, each team had glaring needs at cornerback. Due to the rise of D.J. Hayden, the Oakland Raiders decided to trade back to No. 12 and settle for him. The Philadelphia Eagles (Lane Johnson), Detroit Lions (Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah) and Cleveland Browns (Barkevious Mingo) all addressed other needs.
Did five surgeries and poor backpedaling technique prevent Milliner from becoming a Top 8 pick? If Milliner was off the Jets’ board, then their decision becomes Warmack or Richardson. With Star Lotulelei and Sharrif Floyd still available at No. 9, the Jets probably would’ve added Warmack to their offensive line and gambled on Richardson falling to No. 13.
That would’ve left the Titans with a draft board that excluded Warmack and Milliner. Would they’ve gone with Sharrif Floyd at No. 10? As it stands, Floyd dropped to No. 23. Much of his plummeting draft stock was accredited to his small arms. Other possibilities included Kenny Vaccaro, D.J. Fluker, Richardson and Lotulelei.
For the Titans, the best storyline of the night came when they drafted Warmack. The second-best storyline made that possible: the drop of Milliner.