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Good-bye Milliner but Banks in Dolphins wheelhouse

Well, you can forget about Dee Milliner falling to the No. 12 pick in the first round. The Alabama cornerback, the best defensive back prospect in the draft, had a fine season and today put an exclamation point on his season with an excellent combine performance.

Most impressive for Milliner was his 40-yard dash time, which came in at an unofficial 4.31. [I'll update with the official time when it comes out]. All this practically guarantees Milliner will not make it out of the top 10.

"I thought I was going to run a 4.2," Milliner told the NFL Network.

Milliner struggled with his ball skills. He had trouble catching the ball. But his play at Alabama will override that. He will not participate in the Alabama Pro Day because he's about to have shoulder surgery and will be out two months so he's done until the draft.

The Dolphins have a need at cornerback but they have the No. 12 overall selection. Only way they get a chance at Milliner is to trade up.

Barring that ... bye-bye, Dee.

Today's workouts for defensive backs did, however, present other possibilities for the Dolphins later in the draft. Mississippi State's Johnthan Banks was disappointing with a 4.59 hand timed 40-yard dash. Terrible. Excellent!

Yes, it's bad for Banks because suddenly he's not the late first-round pick he might have been had he run well. But it's good for the Dolphins because he's still a good player and now he might be in their second-round wheelhouse.

Banks can still turn the speed numbers around at his Pro Day.

I like him. He's got great ball skills. He's 6-2. He likes to hit, he supports on the run. He can play off and still recover. He's simply a very solid football player.

[Update: FSU's Xavier Rhodes, another second-round possibility, turned in a 4.41 in the 40. Good. He had the same time his second attempt but seemed to tweak a hamstring. Rhodes needs to be more a go-hard all the time guy to be effective in the NFL. Motor is a question. By the way, Deion Sanders echoed that. The former FSU guy said of the other former FSU guy: "He chilled a little bit. I need to see him realy go 100. He took it easy a little bit."]

[Update:  Washington's Desmond Trufant, another second-round guy, ran a 4.31 unofficially and that ties Milliner for the fastest time. He had a 4.38 on his second run.]

The talk of the day -- at least on the NFL Network -- was the showing by red flag machine Tyrann Mathieu, the former LSU player known as the Honey Badger.

Mathieu, who didn't play in 2012 because he was kicked off the team for various offenses including at least one positive drug test, impressed with a 4.43 unofficial time in the 40-yard dash.

That's good. He needed it because earlier Mathieu had only four reps on the bench press of 225 pounds. As Mike Mayock articulated, Mathieu wasn't on a team all last year but he couldn't get in the weight room or a gym and make sure he could survive a test he knew was coming?

Raises questions about his work ethic.

Mathieu has other questions as well. He's only 5-8. That's a problem as only two starting cornerbacks in the NFL are that short.

The kid is more a special teamer and perhaps a slot cornerback. He has great, great ball skills -- perhaps the best of the class -- but again, he's the personification of (red) Flag Day.

Would I draft Mathieu?

Of course!

But not earlier than the fifth or sixth round.

A player I truly, truly like is safety Jonathan Cyprien of Florida International here in Miami. He didn't run the 40 due to a hamstring injury. He did the drills. He was good, not great.

Keep an eye on him. He's likely a second round pick as well and the Dolphins could use a safety upgrade, particularly with Chris Clemons being a free agent.

[Update: Kenny Vaccaro, who some draft gurus have him in the first round and even as high as No. 12, ran a disappointing 4.59 on his first attempt. And then it got worse on his second attempt at 4.63. He'll have a chance to improve on that. Vaccaro plays faster than that because he takes great angles and is very, very smart. But ...]

[Update: CB Steve Williams of Cal just turned in the fastest unofficial time for the DBs at 4.25. He ran a 4.34 on his second attempt. I can see personnel men around the NFL saying they need to go back to the tape of this prospect.]

All these times are unofficial so check back for the official times.

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