Prospect Spotlight: Morris Claiborne – CB – LSU
Athletic corner who can do a bit of everything. Plays press or zone, strong in run support and possesses both speed and quickness to cover downfield. Muscular physique with good height and long arms. Quick feet to get up to speed rapidly in backpedal off the snap. Quick hips to turn and run without bogging down in transition. Keeps his eyes in backfield to read the quarterback, while maintaining awareness of receiver location. Keeps his feet moving when engaged with downfield blocker, and uses his arm length to shed and close on ball carrier. Explosive tackler who consistently wraps up and hits his target low. Impressive reach and strong hands to fully extend and ankle tackle from atypical angles. Size, strength and active hands to jam at the line but also possesses quickness to play off and eat cushion quickly. Good recognition against the run. Flies to the ball carrier without hesitation. Played a lot of press and man in college. Tracks ball well over his shoulder and uses hands to secure it outside of his frame. Gets his head around and locates ball quickly. Explosive playmaker with the ball in his hands.
Could add 5-10 lbs of muscle. Quicker, speedier slot receivers can get separation underneath on crossing routes. Relies so heavily on his quickness and agility at times that he doesn’t get his hands up or even initiate contact at the line. Inconsistent timing and over-pursuit on the ball when trying to intercept. Will create contact early on passes underneath.
Claiborne may be the most well-rounded corner coming out. He has good size and instincts, solid technique and athleticism to be an explosive playmaker at the next level. He’ll need to get better at breaking on routes underneath, and improve his timing to the ball in ’11, but he has the makings of a future star at the position. Could step in and start immediately for an NFL team, and will upgrade almost any return game. Mid first round material.