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Jason Garrett: Morris Claiborne needs to become “stronger”

Morris Claiborne 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.

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28 Responses to “Jason Garrett: Morris Claiborne needs to become “stronger””
  1. steelerben says: Mar 26, 2014 12:41 PM

    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. astrategyexpert says: Mar 26, 2014 12:42 PM

    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. alshonbrandontandem says: Mar 26, 2014 12:45 PM

    Remember when Claiborne scored a 4 on the Wonderlic? Smart player you got there Dallas.

  4. ajgreenhof says: Mar 26, 2014 12:45 PM

    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.

  5. ajgreenhof says: Mar 26, 2014 12:49 PM

    Whoops didn’t realize Kiffin was demoted.

  6. reesesteel23 says: Mar 26, 2014 12:50 PM

    Only the Dallas GM can fire the Dallas GM. Not happening.

  7. thegrigga49 says: Mar 26, 2014 12:55 PM

    No, Dallas just needs to learn how to use him, he is playing in the absolute worst system for his skill set. D is for Dumb.

  8. tvjules says: Mar 26, 2014 12:56 PM

    Listening to Jason Garrett say someone needs to become stronger or better is laughable.
    Jason, meet Mr. Mirror.

  9. austinoxford says: Mar 26, 2014 12:58 PM

    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.

  10. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Mar 26, 2014 1:01 PM

    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.

  11. richmondbolt says: Mar 26, 2014 1:14 PM

    Rams sure are good at getting teams to trade up and select crappy players.

  12. goodjudgementprevails says: Mar 26, 2014 1:15 PM

    Jason Garrett needs to become Straighter

  13. docreams says: Mar 26, 2014 1:24 PM

    Every player that the Cowboys let go goes somewhere else and shines!!! They don’t no how to use their players….Period

  14. calicowboysfan86 says: Mar 26, 2014 1:25 PM

    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.

  15. f1restarter says: Mar 26, 2014 2:03 PM

    He needs to become smarter, too. Neither is likely to happen.

  16. gburr75 says: Mar 26, 2014 2:03 PM

    And what about you Garrett? Three straight years of 8-8? How you still have a job is beyond me!

  17. grimreaper12 says: Mar 26, 2014 2:18 PM

    Claiborne is overrated. Alfonzo Dennard is better.

    #gopats #patsnation

  18. williamwallacewouldhavebeenaraider says: Mar 26, 2014 2:21 PM

    I remember Bill Pollian placing him on his Blue Chip list after his first yr. hahahha good call

  19. BringBackTheFlex says: Mar 26, 2014 2:27 PM

    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.

  20. bigbow66 says: Mar 26, 2014 3:31 PM

    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.

  21. granadafan says: Mar 26, 2014 3:37 PM

    Just don’t ask Morris to read anything for you.

  22. dalfanforever says: Mar 26, 2014 4:12 PM

    If Scandrick is beating you out, that doesn’t say much for you. He’s turrible!

  23. crewchief15 says: Mar 26, 2014 4:15 PM

    Swing and a Miss…

  24. fdugrad says: Mar 26, 2014 4:35 PM

    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.

  25. axespray says: Mar 26, 2014 4:40 PM

    never have the mentality that you’re “One or Two players away” otherwise you wind up like the cowboys.

  26. craigkintexas says: Mar 26, 2014 4:46 PM

    Is Garrett a member of the school teachers union???

  27. jacobk621 says: Mar 26, 2014 5:34 PM

    Didn’t the ravens draft Jimmy Smith right after him ???

  28. raiderapologist says: Mar 26, 2014 8:13 PM

    Trade down for corners, not up.

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