This is the year that Morris Claiborne put or shut up.
Or he is a bust.
The former sixth overall pick has failed to live up to his reputation as one of the best college cornerbacks in the 2012 draft. He has been injury prone and only has two interceptions in two seasons.
This is not what Jerry Jones expected when he moved up eight slots to draft him. The Cowboys were expecting a “Prime Time” cornerback.
Jerry Jones even had the audacity to compare him to the great Deion Sanders! With the injuries and the blasphemous comparison to Sanders and viewed as the second best player in the 2012 draft, Claiborne was seen as a savior to the Cowboys defense, especially their awful secondary.
Claiborne has entered every season injured, and has never played a full preseason or regular season. He has dealt with hamstring, knee, wrist, shoulder, and finger.
To his credit, he did play hurt.
But he missed six games in the last two seasons because of injuries.
The injuries and lackluster play cost him his starting position to Orlando Scandrick.
Who would ever thought of Claiborne losing his starting job to Scandrick back in 2012? Definitely not the Cowboys.
If, and this is a big if, Claiborne stays healthy he can become the dynamic cornerback the Cowboys envisioned him to be. And he can help the worse defense in the league last year.
The one thing that can help Claiborne is playing to his strength of man coverage. And Rod Marinellis is doing that.
Maybe playing in man coverage boasts his confidence and increases his interceptions.
On DallasCowboys.com, Claiborne talked about his motivation.
“That’s history,” said Claiborne. “I fuel myself. This offseason I have been pretty much sitting in a dark room, sorry to say, just trying to get my mind right for this upcoming season, to take advantage of this opportunity I have. It is a blessing, a blessing to play in the NFL.”
And it will be a blessing if you can live up to the sixth overall pick, too.