It is the 2012 NFL draft. The Cowboys came off of an 8-8 year. They were one game away from the playoffs, but they got stomped by the New York Giants. The Giants picked on the Cowboys weakest position, cornerback. Eli Manning has his way against Terrance Newman and Mike Jenkins. He threw for 346 yards, 3 touchdowns, and had a 72.7% completion percentage. The Cowboys badly needed to improve at the cornerback position, so they made a big move. It is the 6th pick in the draft, and the Cowboys have traded up. With the 6th pick in the draft, the Dallas Cowboys select, Morris Claiborne.
Earlier in the offseason we got Brandon Carr, and we transformed our weakest position to a position of strength. Two seasons later, and we are beginning to wonder if Claiborne is a bust. His rookie year was fine. It wasn’t amazing, but it was good for a rookie. It gave us hope that he could become a future all-star in the league. His second year told a different story.
He struggled greatly and had an injury plagued year. It did not look good for him. Claiborne looked lost on the field. He was a contributor to why the Cowboys had a historically horrendous defense. Going into his third season, we’re not sure what to expect from him. He is arguably the biggest question mark on our team.
What happened to the promising blue chip prospect we got? During his time at LSU, Claiborne primarily played man coverage. With Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson, and Morris Claiborne, the LSU Tigers had some elite man corners. As a result, Claiborne really didn’t have much experience in zone coverage. The reason the Cowboys brought in Claiborne because Rob Ryan needed a corner that can cover one on one. As we all know, one year later Rob Ryan is out and Monte Kiffin is in.
The reason Claiborne struggled is because of his inexperience in zone coverage. A blue chip prospect should have no problem transitioning into the NFL. They have solid technique and form, but for Claiborne he was a fish out of water. He looked great when he played in Rob Ryan’s man coverage scheme. However in the Tampa 2 scheme, Claiborne is now facing a new learning curve.
2014 is a big year for Claiborne. He needs to bounce back or he could see his way out of Dallas. To be honest, Claiborne is not a good fit in Dallas. He would be better off on a defense like New Orleans, Tennessee, or Arizona, where they primarily use man coverage. In Dallas, Claiborne is wasting his time refinishing his zone technique. I don’t think it’s time to give up on Claiborne because its possible for him to still bounce back. In a perfect world, Claiborne will get over the hump and be the shutdown corner that Dallas dreamed of. As of now, we have to question if he can get to that point.