Cowboys Trade up in First Round to Snag LSU Cornerback Morris Claiborne
Jerry Jones mentioned Wednesday that the Dallas Cowboys had looked at all scenarios of moving up or down in Thursday night’s first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. The Cowboys did actually move up eight spots in the draft when they traded their 14th pick in the first round as well as their only second round pick to the St. Louis Rams for the Rams sixth overall pick. The move landed Morris Claiborne in Dallas and kept him out of Tampa Bay, who was poised to take Morris Claiborne with the seventh pick to bolster their depleted secondary. Initial reaction to the pick by Cowboys fans seems to be positive; however, there are some things to consider about this pick.
First of all, Dallas just overspent on CB Brandon Carr in free agency to play corner here. They still have Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick, so Claiborne is your fourth corner. That is nice but where is your safety? The Cowboys were atrocious in the secondary last season. Rob Ryan’s defense was touched last year through the air and ranked 23rd in the league against the pass. Do you need to be reminded that this is a passing league and “if defense wins championships…”? Well then, you get it. So shoring up the secondary was definitely a priority but there may be more behind this pick.
Jenkins is in the last year of his contract and with Scandrick and Carr signed to long-term deals it would appear that any long-term contract for the oft-injured Jenkins would be unlikely now that Morris Claiborne is a Cowboy. That makes Jenkins expendable before he becomes a free agent. It would not be at all surprising to see Jenkins traded in the next few days or so as teams fill out their rosters after the draft. A safety would be nice but the Cowboys have many holes that still need to be addressed.
Jerry Jones and the Cowboys are now without a second round draft pick. In most NFL cities, a second round pick is a 5-8 year contributor to your team. In Dallas, however, second round picks usually end up on the NFL scrap heap after a training camp or two. The Cowboys really could have used at least a shot of getting two players that can play now, and not just one who could be the defensive back version of Dez Bryant.
Claiborne is said to be one of the most talented players in this draft. He better be! He was the sixth pick! He has decent size. Claiborne is just under six feet tall and 188 pounds. He could be the second coming of LSU star and now Arizona Cardinal, Patrick Peterson, or he could be another head case like Dez Bryant. That is the chance you take with these guys. By giving up their first and second round picks for Claiborne he better produce and produce now. The Cowboys roster is light years behind already due to draft day mistakes and if Claiborne is another one than the Dallas Cowboys are staring another zero for a draft right in the face.
Yes, you can find a player in the third and fourth round. The better teams in the NFL are loaded with mid-round draft picks that are properly evaluated and mature into durable play makers. Unfortunately, this has not been the case for the Cowboys and after making this draft day move now is not the time for more second- and third-day draft blunders. The Cowboys have to get at least one, maybe two more guys ready to play in 2012 in rounds three through seven this weekend. No matter how they do it. Trade up, trade down for more picks or flat-out trade players like Jenkins but Morris Claiborne is not bringing the Lombardi trophy with him Cowboy fans. This team still has a long, long way to go.