Jason Garrett: Morris Claiborne needs to become “stronger”

AP

Two years ago, the Cowboys traded their first-round selection (No. 14 overall) and their second-round choice (No. 45) to St. Louis to move up to the No. 6 pick to draft cornerback Morris Claiborne.

In two seasons with the Cowboys, Claiborne has started 22-of-32 games at cornerback, intercepting two passes. He missed six games in 2013, when he dealt with knee, shoulder and hamstring injuries, and he lost his starting job to Orlando Scandrick.

At the NFL meetings on Wednesday, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told reporters that the club has “a lot of confidence” in Claiborne, but he also noted that the 5-11, 190-pound corner from LSU has to add to strength.

“We got to get Mo healthy,” Garrett said, according to a transcript from the Pro Football Writers of America. “We got to get him stronger. And keep giving him chances to go out there and play cause we feel like he has a bright future.”

Regarding the decision to start Scandrick, Garrett said: “We are going to play the best guy. Last year we felt like Orlando was playing better than Mo for a lot of the year so that is why he was playing.”

The Cowboys paid no small price in the Claiborne deal; second-round picks get four-year contracts at team-friendly compensation. The Cowboys, who do not have the deepest roster, gave up an opportunity to add a second potential contributor at a favorable price to get Claiborne.

In the end, decision to trade up will be always be graded by the production of the player acquired in the deal. And not all move-ups are a bad thing. For instance, the Bears traded up five spots to acquire the No. 45 pick in 2012 from the Rams.

And with the No. 45 pick, the Bears took Alshon Jeffery.

Claiborne is only 24, and he was a very well-regarded prospect. The Cowboys have every reason to be somewhat patient. However, they clearly didn’t pay a big price for him to anticipate him being anything but a clear-cut starter in their secondary.

28 responses to “Jason Garrett: Morris Claiborne needs to become “stronger”

  1. Dez Bryant and Alshon Jefferies would have been a lethal combo. Dallas should really think about firing their GM for dropping the ball like that.

  2. It’s a slippery slope. Are you willing to give up quickness in return for adding muscle? His problem is his ability to handle the mental aspect of the game. Fix that first.

  3. He shouldn’t be playing in Monte Kiffin’s system. They’re wasting this poor mans career away trade him to another team where he can actually play to his strengths.

  4. Remember when Mike Mamula scored a 49 on his Wonderlic? Those tests are reliable indicators of a player’s ability on the field. But Mo has been a huge disappointment. But not because of his intellect.

  5. Not to come to his defense but Mo has had injuries and then had the defensive scheme changed on him completely after his rookie season.

    They made a big investment in him so this is the year where Mo has to show what he can do. He has got to play Mo better.

  6. It’s an unfair assumption that every physically gifted talent that enters the NFL is mentally ready.

    He excels as a press corner in but they put him in zone coverage the majority of the time, same as Carr. The in game reps are valuable for a developing player but the scheme change, DC changes, and not putting him in a position to play to his strengths are negating his development.

  7. Muscle won’t make him taller. Quickness won’t make him taller.

    What a waste of a draft pick. Every year WRs get taller, stronger, and faster. So what does Dallas do? Draft a miniature DB. Makes total sense – NOT.

  8. Let the man do what made him a top pick. He plays better in press coverage. Same as Carr. Kiffen was demoted because he felt his system was bigger than his players and he didn’t realize it. The Tampa two as kiffen coached is an out dated system. U can’t expect any player to play like the players that u had in a system 15 years ago. Let Mo man up and play to his strengths like we did his rookie year when he played well.

  9. I have no idea how accurate the Wonderlic is when transferring a low score to physical ability, however if his score is somehow related to overall IQ, then I have NO understanding of how someone with a “4” could learn the sophisticated nuances of complex formations and different types of assignments in coverage. I also do not understand how someone along those lines could be taught to recognize types of offensive plays and formations heading his way at warp speed quickly enough to be an effective CB. The days of “Bubba Kill” are over and players who cannot think clearly and react quickly will simply fall by the wayside. One can certainly become stronger, however, I am not overly confident that ANY coach can compensate for certain types deficiencies in today’s players.

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