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|Cornerback Morris Claiborne was the highest-rated defensive player on the Cowboys' draft board.|
“DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff on the defensive line, Sean Lee at linebacker, and Claiborne (we assume) and cornerback Brandon Carr (acquired in free agency for $50 million over five years) in the secondary. Perhaps the Cowboys' defense can now make some plays in the fourth quarter and stop opponents when the game is on the line. For the first time in forever, it was nice to see the Cowboys target a game-changing impact player and figure out a way to add him to their team. They didn't move down and draft whoever was left from the group of players they liked. Instead, they made a bold move. Hallelujah. Garrett has been preaching the need to have fierce competition throughout the roster since he became coach. The competition at cornerback among Claiborne, Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick for playing time alongside Carr will be the best it has been since the Cowboys were winning Super Bowls. It will make each of them better. And it'll make Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and the other receivers better, too. And with Eli Manning, Michael Vick and Robert Griffin III quarterbacking the Cowboys' opponents within the division, it was imperative Dallas improve its secondary or pass rush. For the rest of their careers, Claiborne and defensive end Fletcher Cox, the draft's best pass-rusher, will be linked. The Cowboys passed on Cox to take Claiborne, while Philadelphia moved up three spots to take Cox with the 12th pick. The Cowboys couldn't keep their best cornerbacks healthy last season, which resulted in Alan Ball and Frank Walker playing way too much. Neither was re-signed in the offseason, and Terence Newman, who struggled with nagging injuries all season, was released. So there's no need to trade Jenkins just because he's in the final year of his contract or because of some media-driven perception that he's going to be angry the Cowboys used the sixth pick on a cornerback. "They sacrificed a lot to come down to get me, but I feel like I'm worth it," Claiborne said on a conference call. "I know my talents. I know what I'm able to do. "They want me to come in and play right away and be a lock-down guy, and I feel like, in the right hands, which I am, I feel like I can come in right away and do that." Confidence. Swag. Arrogance. Claiborne has it all, which is the type of attitude it takes to thrive at cornerback in the NFL. Go ahead and pinch yourself. It's OK. It's been so long since the Cowboys made a bold move in the draft that it's hard to believe they added one of the draft's premier defensive players. But they did, so give them one more handclap.
They sacrificed a lot to come down to get me, but I feel like I'm worth it.” -- No. 6 pick Morris Claiborne