(11) catches a touchdown in front of Dallas Cowboys cornerbackMorris Claiborne
(24). Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
No. 7 – Drafting Morris Claiborne
By the time cornerback Morris Claiborne was selected as the sixth-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, I had been screaming for years for a true defensive nose guard for the Dallas defense, then an ill-constructed 3-4 alignment that only featured franchise sack-leader DeMarcus Ware as the only great fit in the front seven.
Nonetheless, Jones entered the ’12 offseason actually believing that micro-nose tackle Jay Ratliff was going to play forever and also that the Dallas secondary was the greatest problem.
Nothing could have been further from the truth.
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Jones doubled down on his cornerback renovation project by signing Kansas City Chiefs corner Brandon Carr in free agency, a move that’s already been proven to be quite fruitless. As of late 2015, the Cowboys have gotten a total of six interceptions from Carr in exchange for their $50 million investment. Carr hasn’t intercepted a pass since Thanksgiving Day of 2013.
Enough about that.
Claiborne didn’t cost nearly as much money as Carr, but he was quite expensive in other ways.
Jones traded up for Claiborne while also giving away his second-round selection in the process. At the time, Jones proudly stated that his scouting department had graded Claiborne out with the same skill set as – wait for it – Deion Sanders.
Since being selected, Claiborne has been a mess on the field, at least whenever he’s actually been on it. The former LSU star has never made through either a training camp or a 16-game schedule in the regular season. He has a total of just three interceptions to go with 22 passes defensed – these are career numbers, mind you.
Replaced Terrance Newman is still playing some good football, at the tender age of 37, while having racked up eight interceptions since leaving Dallas – that’s just one less than Carr and Claiborne combined over the same time frame.
For Jones to have reached the way he did for Claiborne while not realizing that Ratliff’s days were definitely numbered and that Ware’s, at least with the Cowboys, were as well, was a lame idea and a poor evaluation of talent. It was plane stupid to ignore the deep end of the roster for a highly overrated corner in the first round and at the added expense of a goose egg in the second.
I said at the time that Claiborne wasn’t going to make a difference for the Cowboys the evening he was selected, but not so much because of the person or player, but rather the position he plays. Just a season later, the Cowboys scrapped the antiquated 3-4 scheme in favor of their historic 4-3 front.
Claiborne has still never made the impact that one would expect from a player selected with the naïve urgency that he was.
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