Morris Claiborne has been considered a bust since the Dallas Cowboys made him the sixth overall pick in 2012.
The LSU standout has battled injuries and been unproductive much of his professional career. But Claiborne has written a new script early on this season, playing the best football of his NFL career.
Just ask fellow cornerback Brandon Carr.
“Looking like he’s getting back to his college form, getting back to just having energy,” Carr said. “He had fun [Sunday], made some plays, made some tackles, got up and celebrated. I haven’t seen him celebrating in years, so it was refreshing to see that.
“But that guy has worked his butt off every offseason, but this season especially he had his mind made up that this would be the year that he was going to turn that corner and not let anything stop him. Thus far, he’s doing a great job of playing lights-out ball and focusing on each and every game.”
Claiborne missed five games last season with hamstring and ankle injuries, but was healthy and productive throughout the offseason and in training camp. He joined Carr and linebacker Sean Lee as the only players to take every defensive snap in Sunday’s 27-23 victory over the Redskins, and had a tackle for loss in the third quarter.
Claiborne ranks fifth on the team with 10 tackles through two games, although he still searching for a coveted interception.
Claiborne has not intercepted a pass since Sept. 21, 2014 in St. Louis, and would like to snap that drought.
Carr snapped a lengthy interception-less drought in Week 1, and safety Barry Church came through with an interception against the Redskins. Maybe Week 3 will be Claiborne’s turn.
But, for now, the Cowboys should just be happy that Claiborne is showing signs of being the corner most thought he’d become out of college.
Carr, much like Claiborne, has endured his fair share of criticism for not playing up to the standards most expected after the Cowboys handed him a $50.1 million contract before the 2012 season.
So far, so good this season though.
“[The Cowboys] have given us an opportunity to make mistakes, get some bad years out of us and kind of grow as a player both on and off the field,” Carr said. “So we’ve had an opportunity to grow up in this system, take our bumps. But also the light is at the end of the tunnel and as long as you keep your head down, keep grinding, believe in yourself, then eventually, hopefully the ball will start bouncing your way. You get to the point where you start making plays for yourself and start having fun again.”