Writing for BTB is often times as informative as it is fun. In doing research for the NFL Draft, I didn't really read up on Morris Claiborne as I figured he wasn't even a remote possibility to become a Dallas Cowboy. Sure, I knew of his potential and reputation; he was regarded as the best defensive player in the draft. However, I didn't dive in like I did players like David DeCastro, Fletcher Cox and Quinton Coples.
So in penning the first First Look on the 2012 draft season, I found it quite interesting to read that former LSU great and last year's #5 selection Patrick Peterson helped grease the skids for Les Miles and the Tigers coaching staff to move Claiborne from receiver to cornerback as a freshman. See, there's a reason "Pick Six" is such a ball hawk; it's his first nature.
"Well when I first came in and stepped foot on campus it was one of my visits," Claiborne said. "Patrick was my host, so he kept on telling me, ‘Man you need to move to corner.’ I’m like, ‘No man, I’m a receiver. I want to make plays with the ball. I want the ball in my hands.’ When I got to camp, the coaches wanted me to do … a day at corner, a day at receiver, a day at corner, a day at receiver. I ended up liking corner, so I stayed over in the cornerback room or whatever. [Les] Miles came and got me and said, ‘You don’t have a position yet. Just roll with us and let us figure this thing out.’ But after I kept making plays at corner, he decided to go ahead and let me stay over there, so that’s how it happened."
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"I would love to be a two-way player," Claiborne told "Galloway and Company," a Dallas radio show on 103.3 [KESN-FM]. "If they gave me that chance and opportunity to go both sides of the ball I’d love it. I won’t turn it down. I’d get in and give it 100 percent."
Personally, I love the attitude but I'm not ready to jump on the bandwagon of this concept just yet. Playing cornerback in the NFL is hard enough; being an elite corner is what Dallas paid to acquire the rights to Claiborne. I'd rather he prove to be worthy of the 14th and 45th picks in the draft as a defender long before I see him running crossing routes. For now, I only want to see the ball in his hands on returns. Now, what type of returns?
Claiborne had a similar response when the possibility of returning kicks was mentioned.
"Hopefully that’ll be one of the things they’ll let me do," Claiborne said. "I think an important part of my game is returning kicks and hopefully they will let me get back there and return a couple whether it’s punts or kickoffs."
Interception returns, fumble returns, kickoff returns, punt returns... those I want to see. Not him returning to the offensive huddle with a sideways helmet and a wobble in his walk.
What do you think, BTB? Would you be ok with Claiborne lining up on offense in 2012?