In some ways 2013 did not answer enough questions for the Cowboys regarding personnel. NFL Nation reporter Todd Archer looks at players the Cowboys don’t know about for a variety of reasons.
The Cowboys said Claiborne was their highest-rated defensive back since Deion Sanders. That is extremely high praise and raised the level of expectations for Claiborne that he has not reached in his first two seasons.
He missed six games in 2013 because of recurring hamstring injuries. He lost his starting spot to Orlando Scandrick after injuring his shoulder in the season opener and was unable to take it back mostly because of how well Scandrick played.
While the coaches laud his ability to play the ball, he has only two interceptions in his two seasons and 16 pass breakups. Billed as a shut-down press corner, Claiborne has not played the same as he did when he was winning the Thorpe Award at LSU.
Not only has Claiborne not shown it in games, he has not shown it in practices that are open to the media either in training camp or during the season.
Staying healthy has been a problem for Claiborne. His rookie season was slowed by a wrist surgery that kept him out for the entire offseason. He hurt his knee in training camp as well. He missed one game because of a concussion.
Claiborne has all of the tools, but things have not come together for him. Is it health? Is it scheme? Is it a poor evaluation by the Cowboys?
After two years it is too easy to throw the “bust” tag on Claiborne, but there is no doubt he enters 2014 with just about more to prove than any player on the roster.
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