No one knows Dallas Cowboys rookie CB Morris Claiborne better than the LSU fans who watched him on every snap of his college career, so we figured who better to give Cowboys fans the inside scoop than the fine folks over at And The Valley Shook.
I got together with ATVS Writer Billy Gomila and picked his brain about Mo Claiborne:
1. Should Cowboys fans be concerned about the infamous Wonderlic score?
Absolutely not. Aside from the questions about the Wonderlic's value in general, it also doesn't take into account the fact that Morris Claiborne has a learning disability, something that was documented when he came out of Fair Park High School in Shreveport, La. I do know that if you've listened to him in interviews, he certainly projects intelligence, and obviously, he displayed that out on the field.
2. How did Mo stack up against some of the big time SEC receivers like Julio Jones, AJ Green, Alshon Jefferson, etc? Who gave him the most trouble and why?
He actually never really got to face any of those names very often. LSU never had South Carolina on the schedule while Jeffery was around, and Patrick Peterson usually drew Green and Jones during Claiborne's first two years at LSU. I do know that he transitioned incredibly well to the No. 1 cornerback role last season, consistently playing well when challenged, and by and large forcing opponents to look elsewhere in passing situations.
3. Should fans be concerned about possible off field issues? (i.e. was he involved in the JJ face-kicking shenanigans?)
Claiborne's name never came up in relationship to the Shady's incident, nor any others during the last three seasons. In general Claiborne was never anything other than an exemplary representative of LSU that really worked hard to develop his game.
4. What sort of defensive scheme was he playing in at LSU? Mostly man/zone? Was he put on an island often for blitzes? How was he generally used overall?
LSU blends their coverages fairly well under Defensive Coordinator John Chavis, so Claiborne has been used in a couple of different ways. He rarely blitzed that I could remember, and did a fairly good job of playing press and off-man coverage, as well as dropping into zone, especially against teams like Alabama that used tight ends and backs in place of their wide receivers.
5. How would you compare him to Patrick Peterson? Where is he better/worse? Do you think he'll be better in the NFL?
Well physically, Patrick Peterson is just from a different planet in terms of size and speed. Peterson played in the 215-220 pound range at times, and was so imposing that some teams didn't even want to run the football to his side. I don't know that I'll ever see another corner with his physical skill set. But Claiborne still has excellent size and a great wingspan to get his hands on the ball, and that may be one thing he actually did better than Peterson. When the ball was up for grabs, Claiborne usually came down with it.
Comparing Claiborne and Peterson is the ultimate exercise in relativety -- Claiborne isn't Peterson in the same way that a player like Aeneas Williams wasn't Deion Sanders. A step down, but still a very good player. He doesn't have Peterson's ceiling, but he has an incredibly high floor -- barring injury, he should be a very good, very consistent pro with a good chance at becoming a Pro-Bowler.