Morris Claiborne was the second-rated player on the Cowboys’ draft board, and owner Jerry Jones said he was the highest-rated cornerback Cowboys scouts have presented to him since Deion Sanders.
“Deion was special with his burst, but certainly, he is the best they have graded for us since Deion,” Jones said Thursday night after the Cowboys selected the LSU cornerback. “That would have included Deion after he came in here.”
Sanders was the fifth pick in 1989, taken by the Atlanta Falcons, and he came to the Cowboys as a free agent in 1995.
The Cowboys traded up to the No. 6 pick to draft Claiborne, giving up their second-round pick.
Jones said Claiborne also graded out higher than Terence Newman in 2003, when the Cowboys took their former cornerback out of Kansas State with the No. 5 pick.
“Terence Newman was one of the top cornerbacks around, in my eyes, on coverage, but not necessarily in going up and making the plays,” Jones said. “But we have been void of that for several years now. I think these two guys we have brought in can play the ball. And if Poole can be at the top of his game he can play the ball.”
Jones said the price was worth it for the top defender in the draft, and who could grade out in the range of Sanders.
“As far as being just the centerfield and doing what we need to do as far as man and being sound there,” Jones said. “That combination, I don’t remember – that can literally play man, have the size and the speed and can be the center fielder.”
-- Carlos Mendez