Morris Claiborne was easiest one of the biggest splashes in the 2012 NFL draft when the Dallas Cowboys surrendered a handful of draft picks to the St. Louis Rams for the sixth-overall selection to add the LSU cornerback.
Unfortunately, his presence during the first week of Cowboys training camp has not been quite what most had imagined.
Heralded for his brilliant coverage skills, Claiborne has struggled to adjust to the pace at Cowboys camp. ESPNDallas.com’s Calvin Watkins noted that Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Kevin Ogletree and Raymond Radway have all had their way with Claiborne on deep and short passes.
Claiborne starred for the SEC champion LSU Tigers in his junior season of 2011. He recorded 51 tackles, six pass breakups and six interceptions en route to Jim Thorpe Award and All-American honors.
Though it is still very early in camp, it should be at least somewhat alarming for such a sure-thing prospect to have a hard time covering even the least talented of receivers on the Cowboys roster. With the talent Claiborne boasts, he should be able to get a handle on things and improve over the course of the coming weeks.
Considering the unparalleled receiver talent the NFC East has at its arsenal, the Cowboys will need him to step his game up soon. Kevin Ogletree and Raymond Radway don’t hold a candle to the likes of Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Desean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin or Pierre Garcon.
The rookie is going to go through growing pains, of course, but Dallas drafted the All-American corner with the expectation that he would contribute from day one. At this time, it is not something to worry over too much, but Claiborne’s struggles are certainly something to note and keep an eye on going forward this season.
Fortunately, Hall of Famers are not made in their first week of training camp. Claiborne’s talent and dedication to the game will dictate the type of player he is able to develop into in his promising NFL career.