NFL's greatest CBs set high bar for Claiborne
by Mike Fisher
"I thought they were going to come at me every snap," said Claiborne, the Dallas Cowboys No. 1 pick who made his NFL debut in the team's preseason loss at San Diego on Saturday. "I've just been itching to get out on the field."
The LSU cornerback taken with the sixth overall pick says he knows that Dallas -- which ranked him as the top defensive player in this year's draft -- wants him to "come in and play right away" and "be a shutdown corner."
Claiborne will play the rest of this preseason in preparation for being a starter in the season-opener at the Giants. There will be times when he demonstrates that he is indeed a "shutdown corner," as he did at times against the Chargers, when San Diego rarely bothered throwing to his side. (Meanwhile, veteran newcomer Brandon Carr manned the other cornerback spot and grabbed two first-half interceptions for a Cowboys defense trying to undergo a playmaker makeover.)
But what is the historical learning curve for a cornerback to move from talent to starter to reputed success to true star?
Let's use standard NFL honors as the measuring stick: A first Pro Bowl appearance... and then, for the rare player who is an all-time great, the NFL's official All-Decade Teams...
There's no right way to do the wrong thing.
To compete for the playoffs, Dallas has to improve here: Only four sacks against Eli Manning over the past six games!