When I was watching the 2012 NFL draft I was excited about the prospects the Dallas Cowboys could at pick 14. There were a number of players that I was very hopeful of drafting, among them was Fletcher Cox and Mark Barron. When I saw there was a trade by the St. Louis Rams spot at number 6, I immediately began to get nervous. Those few moments before they announced who the Rams had traded with, my instincts took over and told me it was Dallas who made the trade.
After it was confirmed the Cowboys had indeed traded up to the 6th pick, my brother looked at me and said, “that’s gotta be for Claiborne right?”
My reply, “it better be!”
Look, I hate trading away draft picks, especially picks in the first three rounds but if there were any player who the Cowboys were going to give away a second round pick for, it was Morris Claiborne. As I wrote the other day, the Cowboys needed major help at cornerback and I was not satisfied with just signing Brandon Carr. I wanted more and I got more in Claiborne.
Jerry Jones, notorious for getting the hype machine going, said he thought Claiborne was the best CB prospect since Deion Sanders. Jerry’s opinion means very little because the comparison is ridiculous for a player who hasn’t practiced, never mind played in the NFL yet, but the point is well taken. Dallas believes Morris Claiborne can be a difference maker on defense and they need as many as they can get.
What Claiborne does bring to the Cowboys secondary is something they actually can compare to Deion, he is a ball hawk. I’m not saying he is as good a corner as Sanders but his ball skills are the best for any Cowboys corner since Primetime. There is no debate on that. Think back over the past 12 years and go down the list of Cowboys cornerbacks; the list includes Terence Newman, Mike Jenkins, Anthony Henry, Pacman Jones, Ryan McNeil, Dwayne Goodrich and Mario Edwards. And those are the good names. As solid as the best player on that list, Terence Newman was, he was not considered a ball hawk or a play maker.
If you look at Morris Claiborne’s draft breakdown, you see that most scouts said the same things about him, that he’s a play maker or that he plays the ball better in the air than any CB prospect in a long time. Those are attributes that you want to hear if you’re a Cowboys fan. Claiborne collected 11 interceptions over the past two seasons at LSU. The Cowboys defense needs to cause more turnovers and I believe Claiborne can play a big part in getting those changes of possession.
Think about this, the Green Bay Packers defense was epically bad last year, they were last in ypg (yards per game) given up and last in pass defense, yet they had the most interceptions in the league. The New England Patriots were next to last in both of those defensive categories and had the second most interceptions too. The combined record of those two teams was 28-4! The moral of the story, if you have the ball more than your opponents, you win a lot of games.
Morris Claiborne will help the Cowboys cause a lot more turnovers, which should lead to more Cowboys wins. And that is a reason to get excited about Morris Claiborne!