Despite have various needs at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and offensive line, the Cleveland Browns decide that in a “passing league” it may be wise to have a duo of shutdown corners in both Joe Haden and Claiborne.
At 5’11 and 188 pounds, Claiborne is a combination of speed, power and top-tier skill, that can be used in either man-to-man coverage or zone. Claiborne, an unanimous All-American selection in 2011, would win the Jim Thorpe Award, which is awarded to the nation’s best defensive player would be named Second-Team SEC in 2010 and First Team SEC in 2011.
In being paired with Haden, Claiborne would provide the fifth best passing defense in the NFL in Cleveland with a legitimate shut down cornerback along the likes of New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis and Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha in a division that has quarterbacks in Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton.
Whether it is wise for Cleveland to pass over elite offensive playmakers such as Justin Blackmon and Trent Richardson remains to be seen, but the recent wrist injury to Claiborne does not appear to be hurting his stock too much among teams in the top ten of the 2012 NFL Draft.
For such a offensively-challenged team such as the Browns to draft Claiborne shows a commitment to defense and a willingness to compete in today’s era of pass-happy offenses.
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