Top defensive NFC rookie prospects for 2012


Morris Claiborne

One pick can change an entire defense. Every year when the draft comes around, teams dream of finding that guy who can take an average or below-average defense and instantly make it respectable. The Lions hit that jackpot a couple of years ago with Ndamukong Suh, but he was a rare prospect. Most teams in this year’s draft are going to be happy if the picks they’ve made can just make modest improvements to their unit’s performance.

1. Morris Claiborne, Cowboys CB

It’s always nice to acquire a guaranteed starter with a draft pick, and that’s exactly what Dallas did when they moved up to draft Morris Claiborne. With Claiborne, the Cowboys have added a cornerback who’s already NFL-ready without any concerns about taking time to develop. He’s polished and doesn’t lack the stone hands that many rookie defensive backs have.

Making this acquisition even more lethal is the fact that Claiborne isn’t coming into a weak defense. The Cowboys gave up a lot of passing yards last season, but in terms of touchdowns allowed they were in the middle of the pack. With the addition of Claiborne, the Cowboys might have a top ten defense at the end of the season. Read more here…

Morris Claiborne tested early in Cowboys camp

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The Dallas Cowboys have been waiting a long time to see what they got when they traded up to the sixth pick to select cornerback Morris Claiborne in April, so it’s not surprising they had no patience when they finally got Claiborne on the field.

Claiborne missed all of this spring’s OTAs and minicamps while he rehabbed after wrist surgery. He’s gotten a green light to get back to work and the Cowboys didn’t waste any time putting that green light to the test during a practice for rookies on Wednesday. On the first play of team drills, the Cowboys called a deep pass play on Claiborne’s side of the field. The ball fell incomplete, but the message was received.

“I know I’ve got to get out there,” Claiborne said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “They’re not going to wait on me, just like I came out here today and they didn’t try to ease me in. They threw me right in there and had me go get out there, and I was looking forward to that. I knew they were coming. During game times, I know they’re coming. We did a good job of playing it. I got a little behind on it, but the corner from the other side came over and gave me some good help.” Read more here…