Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne will sit out another preseason game this Saturday with an apparent shoulder injury. Last week he sat out the preseason opener with a knee injury. It seems more and more evident that the 6th overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft will never live up to expectations.
Claiborne had an injury plagued 2013 preseason as well. Ultimately, he only played in 10 games last year so his start to the 2014 preseason is alarming. Especially now that we have learned CB Orlando Scandrick is suspended the first 4 games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
I have heard a lot of chatter the last few months about how players like Claiborne, linebacker Bruce Carter, and CB Brandon Carr are having solid offseasons. Talk of how if these players can bounce back and adjust better to the new defensive scheme in their second year the defense will undoubtedly improve.
It is this feeling of hope that can blind fans from what is reality. One of the hardest things to do as a fan is let go of a perception of a player. Whether that perception is based on past performance or from the idea of a players future potential.
For example, former Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware was an all time great for this franchise. I heard a lot of disgruntled fans blast the Cowboys for releasing him. If you think of the player who recorded 20 sacks in 2008 then the ire spewed at the organization would be justified. However, Ware simply has not been that player in quite some time. The last year and a half he has been a non factor for the Cowboys.
Similarly, you can hang on to a players potential too long while it becomes increasingly evident they will never reach expectations. I have certainly been guilty of believing Claiborne will show why he deserved to be drafted 6th overall in the past. How can a player be such a dominant prospect at the college level and then lose it all in the NFL? Obviously, that is not an uncommon thing to happen to players.
As much as I would love to see Claiborne succeed and help turn around this anemic defense, I fear that it is time to accept him as a bust. He simply cannot stay healthy long enough to help build his confidence that is needed to be a successful cornerback in this league. When healthy this lack of confidence, along with his subpar skill set, has to be accepted as his true worth as a player. We can no longer keep holding onto the fact he was a high draft choice and believe he will grow into the player who every team coveted that night of the 2012 draft.