Could Rolan Milligan Secure a Roster Spot in Detroit in 2017?
Some players come out of high school highly recruited, picking and choosing from a plethora of options. Those players are choosing which vehicle they will ride to a shot at their NFL dream. Rolan Milligan was not one of those players. Milligan started his collegiate career at Reedly College. A month and a half in to his studies his mother lost her job. He was broke and in unfamiliar territory. He said in an interview with nfldraftdiamonds.com that the experience helped him mature. Milligan played cornerback for Reedley and notched 44 tackles with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He landed a scholarship at UAB in 2014.
Rolan Milligan’s Journey to the NFL
Also in 2014, UAB announced that their football program was being discontinued. This was the first Division 1 FBS school to shut down its football program since 1995. The program had just completed a 6-6 season under a new head coach, and became bowl eligible for the first time since 2004. Milligan finished his only season at UAB second on the team in tackles with 54, and broke up six passes. He played corner, safety and even linebacker at times in 2014. He then had to find a new home for his senior season. Milligan settled on Toledo.
That is about the worst possible situation for an NFL prospect. Having to learn a new defense, at a new school, with new teammates, while under the microscope of NFL scouts who are dissecting every mistake the player makes. The usual hype machine of the school hasn’t been pushing the player to the forefront, and doesn’t invest in a player that will only be at the school for a single season.Then he pulled his hamstring during his first 40 yard dash of the Toledo Pro Day. Milligan missed his only opportunity to work out for NFL teams before the draft. He signed as an undrafted free agent and ended up on injured reserve in early August. The Cowboys released him with an injury settlement. He did not sign with another team during the 2016 season.
Rolan Milligan is a versatile prospect that will compete for a role in the team’s safety group, but will likely need to make his mark on special teams to find a spot on the Lions’ 53-man roster. The Lions do not have a solid backup for Glover Quin on the roster, with Miles Killebrew and Tavon Wilson better suited as strong safeties. Don Carey is best in a special teams role but currently serves as the likely back up to Quin. It could be with the Lions that Rolan Milligan finally finds a long term home.