When Jerry Jones is the owner of your favorite team, you should be prepared for anything. But, even knowing about Jerry's gambler mentality, it was still surprising seeing the Cowboys make the trade with the St. Louis Rams. This was a scenario I talked about over on Blogging The Boys back in March:
What happens if LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne falls in the draft? Would the Cowboys be willing to deal up for him? I think it is a real possibility if he does indeed fall out of the top five. It all depends on what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do with the 5th overall pick. They signed cornerback Eric Wright today, but Aqib Talib faces a possible suspension from the NFL. The St. Louis Rams hold the #6 pick, and have been rumored to be willing to trade down again.
If Claiborne falls to the Rams, it wouldn't shock me to see Jerry pick up the phone and offer them a deal. Last year he did not conduct a single trade in the war room, and it must have driven him insane not being able to make a trade. If the right opportunity presents itself this year, he may have to pull the trigger. The new rookie wage scale doesn't make trading up as risky as it used to be. After a great start to free agency, the Cowboys are setting themselves up to be in a great position in the draft.
The Cowboys have now landed five core players in the last three drafts: DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, Tyron Smith and Morris Claiborne.
Many will complain that the Cowboys gave up too much for Claiborne, but did they? They gave up their second-round draft pick, the 45th overall selection. Last year's 45th selection was Rahim Moore. Granted, this year's class is a better one, but it still looks like a great trade for a lock-down cornerback. Using the NFL Draft Trade Calculator courtesy of Calculator Soup, the 6th overall pick is worth 1600 points. The 14th and 45th overall pick are worth 1550 points.
The Cowboys won this trade, big time. Claiborne has been my third rated player on my big board for a long time. The 2011 Thorpe Award winner was the best cornerback in college football. The Cowboys were in love with Patrick Peterson a year ago, but Claiborne is an even better prospect. His 11 interceptions in the last two years show he is a legitimate ball-hawk. His skill level is off the charts and he will be one of the best CB's in the league for a long time.
I was listening to the phone conversation between Rob Ryan, Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones welcoming Claiborne to the team. Claiborne was crying, he was so excited and honored to become a Cowboy. Seeing and hearing that a player actually wants to play in Dallas makes this just even more exciting. Rob Ryan was thrilled about the possibility of getting his version of Darrelle Revis, yeah I said it. That is how important this kid can be for the defense. This was the best defensive player in the entire draft, not just the best cornerback.
With Claiborne and Brandon Carr, the Cowboys now have two lockdown CB's. Mike Jenkins is the #3, and his impending free agency is no longer a big deal. Orlando Scandrick can play a good utility role with the team. All of a sudden, the secondary looks like a major strength on this team.