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Should Cowboys Integrate Rookie CB Morris Claiborne Slowly?

Try as they may, the Dallas Cowboys are going to enter the 2012 regular season with some questions about their cornerback situation. Sure, they gave free agent Brandon Carr a $50 million contract to play the left side and they gave Orlando Scandrick a 2010 extension to man the slot for the next few years. Sure they are paying lip service to wanting Mike Jenkins to stay in Dallas and, most importantly, they spent their first two draft picks on Morris Claiborne.

The biggest question will be, how does Dallas approach integrating Claiborne into the defense. The majority of first round cornerbacks, even those that eventually end up being Pro Bowl and elite level players, all struggled their first year.

The one exception? Joe Haden, 2010 draft pick of the Cleveland Browns. Haden was drafted and initially coached up by none other than Rob Ryan and Jerome Henderson; the defensive coordinator and secondary coach for the Cowboys.

Haden was allowed to learn in a limited environment instead of being thrown into the fire. He played very limited snaps through the first eight games of the season as the left corner before being moved into the starter's role for the second half of the season. Haden flourished, with 11 passes defensed, six interceptions and a 50.1 QB Rating against.

On the flip side would be Claiborne's former teammate Patrick Peterson. Last year's top drafted corner was thrown to the wolves and struggled mightily from the jump. His struggled continued throughout the entire 2011 campaign.

Obviously, each of the three recent rookies, Claiborne included, are individuals and Haden's and Peterson's handling or performance does not necessarily indicate how Morris should be dealt with. It does, however, give some food for thought.

Read more on the Cowboys at Blogging the Boys and SB Nation Dallas

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.