Monday, March 12, 2012
Draft preview series: LSU CB Morris Claiborne
By Bryan Broaddus and Tim MacMahon
We begin our draft preview series with a look at LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne.
Scouts Inc. ranks: No. 1 cornerback, No. 5 overall
Bio: Won the Thorpe Award and SEC Defensive Player of the Year as a junior in 2011. Recruited as a wide receiver, he moved to cornerback as a freshman and started two seasons for LSU. His 11 interceptions are tied for sixth in school history. His 274 interception return yards rank second in school history. Also returned kickoffs, averaging 26.3 yards with a touchdown on 19 returns.
LSU's Morris Claiborne is projected to be the first cornerback off the board.
Broaddus Breakdown (viewed Oregon, Florida, Arkansas and Georgia games): Looks much taller on tape than what he measures. Long arms and quick feet. … Can play press or off with equal skill. Moves easy without much wasted motion. Has a smooth, relaxed backpedal. … Is a difficult corner to run away from because he uses his long arms and hands well to put himself in position on the route. One of his real strengths is his ability to mirror the receiver on routes. I would not say that he is in the same mold of Arizona Cardinals corner Patrick Peterson, but you can see that they were both taught the same way to play coverage. Will stab with his hand, get the receiver off balance, then position himself inside -- flipping his hips -- to work up the field. … Does a nice job for finding the ball in the air and playing it at its highest point. Was a former high school wide receiver, so you do see ball skills. Will take his eyes from the receiver, then turn his head quickly to find the ball. … Does a nice job in off coverage in reading the quarterback, then the route. Outstanding reactions to the ball once the ball is thrown. His foot quickness really helps put him in position to make the play with his long arms. … If he has a weakness, he is not nearly as physical a player as Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama when it comes to tackling. There are plenty of times where you see him going low and to the ground instead of wrapping up the ball carrier, and this will cause him to miss. He will also take poor angles to the ball when it comes to tackling. Have seen the ball spill to the outside and he struggled to get off the block to make the play. This surprised me because of how physical he will play the receivers in press coverage. … One other point of interest is that he will struggle with his balance. It’s just something that I picked up on tape and I didn’t know whether it was a shoe issue or something that he just has to work on, but you will see him slip from time to time in coverage, but the ball will not go to his direction. … Overall, the best cornerback in the draft and will be the first one off the board because of his skill. Coverage is outstanding, but he is not as good as former teammate Peterson. Will need work on his tackling, but that is really his only major knock.