Morris Claiborne

Morris Claiborne

refer to caption

Claiborne in 2015
No. 24Dallas Cowboys
Position: Cornerback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1990-02-07) February 7, 1990
Place of birth: Shreveport, Louisiana
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight: 192 lb (87 kg)
Career information
High school: Shreveport (LA) Fair Park
College: LSU
NFL Draft: 2012 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 9, 2016
Tackles: 151
Interceptions: 4
Passes deflected: 27
Fumbles forced: 1
Fumbles recovered: 3
Touchdowns: 1
Player stats at

Morris Lee Claiborne (born February 7, 1990) is an American football cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Louisiana State University, where he earned All-American honors. He was selected sixth overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, and was considered by many to be the best defensive prospect available in the draft.[1]

Early years

Claiborne was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. He attended Fair Park High School in Shreveport, where he played for the Fair Park Indians high school football team. He was a three-star recruit according to[2] He played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back. As a senior he had over 2,000 all purpose yards and 30 touchdowns as a quarterback.

Claiborne was also on the school's track & field team, where he competed as a sprinter. He won the 100 meters at the 2009 Louisiana Outdoor State Championships, with a career-best time of 10.76 seconds,[3] and also ran the fourth leg on the 4 x 100 meter relay squad, helping them earn a first-place finish at 42.06 seconds.[4] He also placed second in the 200 meters at the 2009 Region 1-4A Championships, with a personal-best time of 22.21 seconds.[5]

College career

Claiborne attended Louisiana State University, where he played for coach Les Miles' LSU Tigers football team from 2009 to 2011. After spending his freshman season as a backup in 2009, he started 12 games in 2010 and recorded 37 tackles and a team leading five interceptions as a sophomore in 2010, and was named a second-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection.[6] Following his 2011 junior season, he won the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the year's best defensive back, earned first-team All-SEC honors, and was recognized as a unanimous first-team All-American.

Professional career

2012 NFL Draft

Claiborne was not perceived as a first-round draft pick prior to his junior season.[7][8][9] By midseason, however, he had drawn the attention of NFL scouts and analysts, having erased concerns his sophomore production resulted from playing opposite of Patrick Peterson.[10][11] Towards the end of his junior season, Claiborne had established himself as the No. 1 cornerback prospect for the 2012 NFL Draft, unanimously projected as a top-6 selection.[12][13][14] Claiborne scored a 4 out of 50 on the Wonderlic Test, which is an aptitude test given to NFL prospects to test basic intelligence.[15] After being drafted, Claiborne admitted he "blew the test off" (the Wonderlic test) after seeing that it had "nothing on the test that came with football".[16]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht WtArm lengthHand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BPWonderlic
5 ft 11⅛ in 188 lb33¼ in in 4.43 s 1.56 s 2.58 s 4.12 s 7.01 s 35 in 9 ft 10 in 4
40 time and vertical from LSU Pro Day[17]

Coming into the NFL draft, Claiborne was predicted to be drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the number 5 pick overall or even the 4th overall pick to the Minnesota Vikings. The first day of the NFL draft was held on April 26, 2012. On the first day of the draft, the Buccaneers traded out of the 5th pick to the 7th pick with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars selected Oklahoma State University wide-receiver Justin Blackmon with their newly acquired 5th overall pick. The Cowboys then traded with the St. Louis Rams (who had expressed their desire to trade out of the 6th pick in order to collect more draft picks) for the 6th pick, and selected Claiborne ahead of the Buccaneers. The St. Louis Rams received the Cowboys' 2012 first and second round selections (14th and 45th overall) while the Cowboys received the 2012 first round selection (6th overall). Buccaneers drafted safety Mark Barron with the 7th overall pick.

Dallas Cowboys owner and G.M. Jerry Jones explained after Claiborne was selected that Claiborne was the only player the Dallas Cowboys would trade up for in the 2012 NFL Draft, but considered it a far fetched idea because Claiborne was ranked as a top 5 player in the draft with the Cowboys picking 14th overall. Claiborne was ranked number 2 in the Dallas draft board right after number 1 pick Andrew Luck.[18][19][20]

Claiborne selected jersey number 24 and joined a crowded defensive back unit featuring former Pro Bowler Mike Jenkins, Orlando Scandrick and newly signed veteran Brandon Carr.

Claiborne officially signed his contract with the Cowboys on Monday, July 23, 2012, just a few days before the start of training camp. Claiborne signed a fully guaranteed deal worth $16.4 million over four years (the Cowboys included an option for a fifth year if they desire) with a $10.3 million signing bonus.[21] There was no offset language in the contract.

Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys entered the 2012 NFL Draft with cornerback as their top draft priority and traded up with the St. Louis Rams moving from the 14th to the 6th position, in exchange for a second round (45th) draft choice, in order to select Claiborne in the first round.


Recovering from a surgically repaired wrist, Claiborne missed minicamp and all of the organized team activities but was still named the starter at right cornerback. There were high expectations for him during his rookie season, as he finished with 55 tackles and one interception, while suffering a number of minor injuries and being targeted by opposing teams in order to avoid Brandon Carr on the left side.[22]


In 2013, he bulked up from 185 to 193 pounds and seemed motivated to play in the team's new 4-3 defense. His progress was slowed first by a sprained knee he hurt in preseason that made him miss three weeks of training camp and later by a dislocated left shoulder he suffered in the season opener. Forced to wear a harness to stabilize the shoulder and play through the injury, Claiborne had poor performances and was passed on the depth chart by Orlando Scandrick after the third game.[23] He also faced adversity with the death of his father and from missing 6 games with a hamstring injury.


In 2014, he missed most of the preseason with knee tendinitis and an AC joint separation. He began the season as the starter at right cornerback with Scandrick suspended for the first two contests but returned to a reserve role after the third game, even though he made the interception that clinched the win. When told of his demotion from the coaches on September 23, he walked out of the Cowboys' practice facility but returned later that night.[24] On September 28, he sustained a noncontact torn left patellar tendon against the New Orleans Saints and was placed on the injured reserve list after four games.[25] In December, he also had his right knee scoped to strengthen the other patellar tendon. The Cowboys opted not to pick up the fifth-year option of his rookie contract.


In 2015, his rehab from a potentially career-threatening injury went better than expected, regaining his previous form and being able to avoid missing time in training camp. Coming from two previous disappointing seasons, where he only started a total of 10 games, the season ending injury to Orlando Scandrick opened the door for him to be named the starting right cornerback. He ended up starting 11 games, missing five contests with hamstring and ankle injuries, while registering 5 passes defensed and no interceptions.


On March 11, 2016, the Cowboys re-signed him to a one-year contract worth $3 million, that could reach a maximum of $3.75 million with incentives.

Career statistics

NFL career statistics
Season Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
Year Team GP GS Comb Solo Asst Sack Int Yds Avg Lng TD PD FF FR Yds TD
2012 DAL 15 15 55 43 12 0.0 1 0 0.0 0 0 8 1 2 50 1
2013 DAL 10 7 26 24 2 0.0 1 0 0.0 0 0 5 0 1 0 0
2014 DAL 4 3 7 5 2 0.0 1 -8 -8.0 -8 0 2 0 0 0 0
2015 DAL 11 11 37 30 7 0.0 0 0 0.0 0 0 7 0 0 0 0
Career 40 36 125 102 23 0.0 3 -8 -2.6 -8 0 22 1 3 50 1
Key to Abbreviations

GP = Games played
GS = Games started
Comb = Combined tackles
Solo = Solo tackles
Asst = Assisted tackles
Sack = Quarterback sacks
Int = Interceptions
Yds = Interception return yards
Avg = Average interception return
Lng = Longest interception return
TD = Interception return touchdowns
PD = Passes defended
FF = Fumbles forced
FR = Fumbles recovered
Yds = Fumble return yards
TD = Fumble return touchdowns


  1. NFL Draft Scout
  2. "Morris Claiborne Recruiting". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  3. "Morris Claiborne Marks". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  4. "LHSAA 4A State Championships". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  5. "Region I-4A Championships". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  6. Coaches All-SEC Team Announced
  7. Prisco, Pete (May 1, 2011). "Flash forward: Top 32 picks for the 2012 NFL Draft".
  8. Pauline, Tony (May 3, 2011). "Stanford's Luck headlines early look at top 2012 draft prospects". Sports Illustrated.
  9. Reuter, Chad (May 4, 2011). "2012 mock draft: First look with Luck and Heels".
  10. Pauline, Tony (October 24, 2011). "Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson high in midseason NFL draft rankings".
  11. Schrager, Peter (November 15, 2011). "Midseason 2012 NFL Mock Draft".
  12. Schrager, Peter (January 10, 2012). "Post-regular season mock draft".
  13. Nawrocki, Nolan (January 24, 2012). "Mock draft 1.0". Pro Football Weekly.
  14. Banks, Don (January 27, 2012). "Andrew Luck tops pre-Super Bowl NFL mock draft".
  15. Mike Florio, Claiborne gives birth to a four on the Wonderlic,, April 3, 2012.
  16. The Sports Xchange. "Clairborne admits he blew off Wonderlic". The Sports Xchange. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  17. "Morris Claiborne Ratings". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  18. Machota, Jon. "Cowboys Player Profile Series: CB Morris Claiborne". SportsDayDFW. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  19. Hawkins, Stephen (2012-04-26). "Morris Claiborne To Cowboys With 6th Pick After Trade During 2012 NFL Draft". Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  20. "Cowboys Draft Day Three". Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  21. Eatman, Nick. "Claiborne Officially Signs 4-Year Deal Worth $16.4 Million". Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  22. "Morris Claiborne 2012 Review, Final Grade". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  23. Carey, Bill (October 1, 2013). "Cowboys bench former first-round pick Morris Claiborne". Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  24. "Mo Claiborne storms out of facility". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  25. Archer, Todd (September 29, 2014). "Morris Claiborne out for season". Retrieved September 29, 2014.
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