- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys did not have Morris Claiborne in for a pre-draft visit to Valley Ranch. They did not have a private workout with him. The only person on the staff who had any contact with the LSU cornerback was assistant secondary coach Joe Baker while at the NFL scouting combine in February.
Despite the lack of outward interest, the Cowboys felt comfortable in all that they needed to know about Claiborne. One of the biggest reasons why: LSU coach Les Miles, the former Cowboys assistant coach.
“We like guys that come through that program because we know it’s a rigorous program,” coach Jason Garrett said. “They practice hard. They practice long. They tackle in practice. It’s great competition in practice. It’s great competition every Saturday, so [Claiborne] has come through the ranks.”
The Cowboys’ scouts do more than just evaluate a player’s ability.
“You try to do your due diligence,” Garrett said. “You try to watch tape. You watch practices, so with your own eyes you see how he handles himself in all those situations. The other part is what does the coach say, what does the position coach say, what do teammates say, what do the trainers say, what do the strength coaches say. If it was one of our players and you wanted to figure out what makes him tick you’d ask the trainers, the equipment guy, the strength guy, the position coach. You try to talk to teammates. If you have people you know and trust in those roles and will give you honest, good answers, it’s helpful.”
Claiborne got a brief scouting report on the Cowboys from Miles, too.
"He talked so highly about everyone," Claiborne said. "I know everyone is familiar with him and he's familiar with those guys. He just told me, hey, I can't lose right now."