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LSU’s Morris Claiborne stunned by Dallas Cowboys move to pick him

New York – LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne was one of the hottest commodities entering the 2012 NFL draft – multiple teams spoke with him at the combine and 8 of them flew him in for a visit. Most mock drafts had him off the board in the first four or five picks, probably to Minnesota or Tampa Bay.The Associated PressNFL commissioner Roger Goodell and LSU defensive back Morris Claiborne pose with the Dallas Cowboys jersey.One team, however, evinced zero interest. In one of those oddities that mark the draft, that team, the Dallas Cowboys, moved up in the first round Thursday night to get him, making Claiborne the No. 6 overall pick.He wasn’t sure what to make of the call.”I thought it was a joke at first,” he said. “They showed no interest at all in me, none whatsoever. You know that call you get where they just want to update your number and make sure they have it? Well, I didn’t even get that call.”The voice on the other end was the Cowboys famous owner Jerry Jones.”Once I realized who it was I looked at my family and they were like, ‘who is it?’ ‘Who is it?’ and I said, ‘the Cowboys,’ and I could just see the stunned look on their faces,” Claiborne said. “Then the voice asked me, ‘Do you want to be a Cowboy?’ and I said, ‘yes.’”The pick made Claiborne the first Tiger to go in 2012. Adding irony was the fact the second, defensive end Michael Brockers, had wanted to be a Cowboy all his life and thought Dallas might take him. Instead, the St. Louis Rams wound up selecting Brockers with the 14th overall pick.The pair, coupled with four Alabama players also taken in the first round, gave the 2012 draft a distinct SEC sheen and continued the rivalry between the two college powers that culminated last year in the BCS National Championship.Brockers laughed out loud when asked how he interacted in New York this week when he found himself, yet again, matched up against the Crimson Tide.”I think it just shows the quality of players we have in the SEC,” he said, adding that picking LSU was the highlight of his collegiate career. “I always wanted to be a Tiger.”Both men presented a smooth and engaging personality to the hordes of reporters who descended on Radio City Music Hall. But Claiborne was asked about the Wonderlic test, a 50-question kind of IQ exam the NFL administers to players at the combine in Indianapolis each February.Claiborne scored a 4 on the test, the lowest recorded score since 2000.But he didn’t shy away or bristle at the questions Thursday. For one thing, he said, the test isn’t a measure of his quality as a man. And for another, he couldn’t see how it was going to measure his quality as a player.”I came to the Combine for football and I looked at the test and I didn’t see any questions about football,” he said. “I didn’t see no point in the test if it doesn’t ask questions about football.”Indeed, he wound up answering only, “18, or 15,” of the 50 questions and thus argued the 4 wasn’t even an accurate gauge of what he’d have done if he’d taken it more seriously or spent more time on it.And certainly the score didn’t seem to bother Jones or the Cowboys who are looking to return to the playoffs but labor in a division with the Super Bowl champion New York Giants and a Washington Redskins team looking to boost its offense with the No. 2 overall selection Thursday of quarterback Robert Griffin III. Apparently, Dallas executives were more impressed with the fact Claiborne won the Jim Thorpe Award last year as the best defensive back in college football.”Aw, I haven’t played a snap yet,” Claiborne said when asked about those deep NFC East rivalries.Claiborne had his left wrist heavily wrapped. He said he tore a ligament at the top of the wrist in LSU’s regular season game against Alabama last November, but put off having surgery on it until the Tigers Pro Day in March. It will not be a factor in his training or participation in the Cowboys’ off-season program, he insisted.Again, however, the discussion drifted back to the surprise the Claiborne clan had with him even being a Cowboy. Claiborne hails from Shreveport – Cowboy country – but his mother is no fan. In fact, she told a Shreveport reporter prior to the draft, “anybody but the Cowboys.”Claiborne brushed that away with another laugh.”Don’t let her fool you,” he said. “She’ll tell you she’s not a Cowboys fan, but she is a Cowboys fan.”

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