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May 17, 2014

Cowboys still have hopes disappointing Claborne can be a top cornerback but time is running out

That Morris Claiborne has been a disappointment in two years with the Cowboys that no one on the staff tries to sugar coat things anymore. 

He was billed as the best cornerback prospect since Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. The Cowboys thought so much of him they traded up in 2012 to take him with the sixth overall pick.

Claiborne has responded with two injury plagued seasons, featuring just two interceptions in 25 games played, while losing his starting job to former nickel cornerback Orlando Scandrick.
 
But while the Cowboys have been disappointed, secondary coach Jerome Henderson said no one in organization is ready to give up on Claiborne. 
 
"Obviously when you draft a guy that high you want him to be your guy," Henderson said.  "Again, we hope he becomes that guy. We hope he becomes that guy that when you look out there no matter what down it is he’s out there guarding somebody, locking him up. We still think that is who he is."
 
Henderson said Claiborne has worked this off season on getting stronger in hopes of staying healthy from beginning to end. That to the Cowboys is the first step in Claiborne finally reaching his potential. 
 
"I just hope the kid can stay healthy the whole season that we all get to see the player he is," Henderson said. "Will he do that? Gosh, I hope so. I know he’s working his butt off now, he’s healthy now, he’s moving around well now, so I hope he stays at the level he’s at now and continues to get better from there. I hope this is the year he breaks through from that standpoint."
 
Claiborne badly needs a break through year as the Cowboys face difficult decision on him next off season when they must determine whether to pick up his fifth-year option. The current price for that is $10.1 million. It will likely go up with all the new contracts being signed by cornerbacks.
Claiborne's production and status as the third cornerback behind Scandrick and Brandon Carr has proven him worthy of that kind of continued investment. 
 
"Scandrick is a really good NFL corner," Henderson said. "He’s a hell of a player. So it’s not like somebody, just some guy is playing in front of him. The guy playing in front of him is a really good NFL corner. Now he just happens to have the flexibility and he’s unique, he can go inside and play just as well inside as he does outside.  It’s a luxury for us. But you drafted Mo to be a starting corner. You don’t spend a pick that high if you don’t think that, so we hope he develops and plays to that level."
 
Clarence Hill

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