IRVING, Texas -- First-round pick Morris Claiborne had to go through a crash course on how to play cornerback in the NFL.
He had to sit out offseason workouts while recovering from wrist surgery, then missed a week of training camp and the preseason opener due to a minor knee injury. It definitely wasn’t the ideal way of getting a rookie ready to play one of the premier defensive positions.
But Claiborne didn’t look unprepared in his first real taste of NFL action, drawing congratulations and praise from teammates after holding Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks to four catches for 38 yards.
“I had to get right in and get right to it,” Claiborne said. “No one was going to wait on me. No one was going to have an excuse for me. I couldn’t make one for myself. My first day back, they threw me right out there and have been going since then.”
The Giants threw right at Claiborne on the first snap of the game, trying to hit Nicks on a deep ball that safety Barry Church broke up.
Claiborne embraces the reality that those challenges will keep coming his way. He knows opposing offenses would much rather pick on a rookie, no matter how hyped, than the $50 million corner on the other side.
“I felt like they were going to come at me no matter what we were in the first snap,” Claiborne said. “We could have been in the prevent and they were still going to throw to my side.
“I can’t relax. That game against the Giants wasn’t nothing; there’s more to come. I know guys are going to continue to come at me. It’s my job to prepare myself and go out and face those challenges.”