IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys’ pick of Morris Claiborne gets the Prime Time seal of approval.
“I like this kid. I really like this kid,” Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders said during a Friday appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s Ben and Skin Show, adding that he had to cancel recent plans to work out with Claiborne. “I watched countless amount of film on him. I like him. I really do.
“The only thing I would say is he plays a little bit high at times, but that can be fixed. It’s just not been taught well. I like the kid. He’s been consistent over his career. He’s been dominant. He played with some good players. He played in a tough conference. I really like him.”
Any cornerback the Cowboys draft in the first round will automatically be compared to Sanders, who played in four Pro Bowls and won one Super Bowl ring during his five-year stint in Dallas. Jerry Jones took that comparison a step further when the owner/general manager said that the Cowboys’ scouts hadn’t graded a cornerback in the draft as high as Claiborne since Sanders in 1989.
“I don’t know about that, because a guy named Patrick Peterson, he had to be off the charts not only because of what he did on the field as a corner, but his return ability as well,” Sanders said, referring to Claiborne’s former LSU teammate who was drafted fifth overall by the Arizona Cardinals last year. “I mean, he was the total package, so it would be hard for me to suggest that [Claiborne] was rated higher than Patrick Peterson. I mean, that’s tough. Physicality, instincts, everything -- Patrick Peterson has to be off the charts.”
A quick point of clarification: Jones was referring to grades purely as a corner, so Peterson’s record-breaking return ability doesn’t factor into the discussion.
As impressed as Sanders is with Claiborne, he doesn’t expect him to dominate as a rookie.
“He ain’t going to be no shutdown corner coming right out of college,” Sanders said. “I don’t even know what a shutdown corner is right now outside of Charles Woodson and Darrelle Revis. That does not exist.
“But this guy here, he should be able to start if he can pick up the scheme. It’s not about the physical ability, because you’re going to take your bumps and bruises and you’re going to get beat. That’s how you learn. That’s how you process things in the NFL.”