When the Cowboys aggressively traded up to draft projected shut-down cornerback Morris Claiborne in the 2012 NFL Draft, we all applauded.
He’s got once chance left to make us not regret it.
An unequivocal flop so far as a No. 6 overall pick, he’s still got life as the Cowboys agreed over the weekend to a one-year contract paying him a relatively measly $3.75 million. Consider it his second – and last – opportunity in Dallas.
Claiborne’s been a bust. He had 11 interceptions in two seasons at LSU and won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back. On the Cowboys’ draft board in 2012, only Andrew Luck was rated higher. The move made sense.
But, in hindsight, it was ugly. Claiborne has only three career interceptions. Few impact plays. Injuries. A glaring lack of ball skills. And to think, drafted just behind him were Pro Bowl defenders Luke Kuechly, Mark Barron, Dontari Poe and Fletcher Cox.
The Cowboys are desperate for defensive playmakers. Spending $50 million on Brandon Carr hasn’t worked out. Nor the move to nab Claiborne. But they haven’t given up on either cornerback.
Claiborne still has the talent. And because he was a first-rounder, he still has a chance to make the Cowboys look smart. Instead of merely silly and stubborn.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.