Rookie review: Morris Claiborne

Morris Claiborne had only one interception but was solid overall in his rookie season. Bob Donnan/US Presswire

Morris Claiborne

How acquired: First-round pick (sixth overall), LSU

What he did: The Cowboys' first pick of the 2012 draft had a solid rookie campaign. Claiborne allowed four touchdowns, knocked down eight passes, picked off one pass, forced a fumble and scored one touchdown in 2012. He did an excellent job in man coverage but struggled slightly in zone. Claiborne missed the offseason program while recovering from wrist surgery, sprained a knee during training camp and battled little health issues the rest of the way. Offenses targeted him 65 times, according to Stats LLC, and he had roughly two bad games the entire season.

Where he fits in the future: Regardless of how he's used in the Tampa 2 defense, Claiborne is the future of this franchise. He's developed into a solid player and is listening to veteran corner Brandon Carr about how to be professional on and off the field. If Claiborne remains healthy he's got the skill set to become an elite corner, and that's something the Cowboys are expecting from him. Kiffin said his defense isn't glued in to using the corners in just zone coverage. He said the cornerbacks can play zone and man coverage, and if that's the case it won't hinder Claiborne's development.