Rapid Reaction: Cowboys move up for Morris Claiborne

April, 26, 2012
4/26/12
7:48
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Pros: Morris Claiborne, the 2011 Jim Thorpe Award winner, is a ballhawk who is the best cornerback in the draft. He has excellent quickness and possesses long arms (77-inch wing span). He’s a technician with phenomenal athletic ability and outstanding instincts. He’s comfortable playing press and off coverage. He has excellent ball skills after originally being recruited to LSU as a wide receiver. He’s also extremely dangerous once he picks off a pass. In two seasons as an LSU starter, Claiborne had 11 interceptions that he returned for 274 yards. He has the ability to play outside or in the slot. He can also return kicks, averaging 25.3 yards per return for the Tigers.

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Dallas Cowboys draft pick Morris Claiborne says he was surprised to be picked by the Cowboys. Claiborne talks about his offensive skills on defense.

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Cons: The biggest con is that the Cowboys gave up two premium picks (14th and 45th overall) to move up to get Claiborne. As far as on the field, the one knock on Claiborne is that he isn’t physical enough. He doesn’t always use his long arms to his advantage in press coverage and misses more tackles than he should. He doesn't have blazing speed by NFL cornerback standards, but a 4.50 40-yard dash certainly isn't slow.

Cowboys fit: The Cowboys have turned one of their biggest weaknesses into a position of strength this offseason with the additions of Claiborne and free-agent cornerback Brandon Carr, who signed a five-year, $50.1 million contract. Mike Jenkins can forget about the lucrative long-term contract extension that he wanted from the Cowboys. Assuming Jenkins is still on the team, he’ll have to fight off the sixth overall pick to keep his starting job. At the minimum, Claiborne should be an outstanding slot corner as a rookie. Claiborne and Carr could be one of the NFL’s top cornerback combos for years to come.

Could have had: Alabama S Mark Barron, Mississippi State DL Fletcher Cox, Stanford OG David DeCastro, LSU DL Michael Brockers

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