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Cowboys on the Clock: Morris Claiborne, #6 Overall

Sean Martin

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Morris Claiborne

There is less than a week until the 2016 NFL draft! Anticipation begins to build as the top two picks are now owned by different teams than they were originally. The Dallas Cowboys still sit at #4 overall, but the rival Eagles have traded up to the #2 spot in the draft.

We will have you covered leading up to the draft right here on Inside The Star, and on Twitter @CowboysNation, but today is about looking back to the 2012 NFL draft.

In this draft, the Cowboys moved up to acquire a certain defensive back out of LSU. Let's take a closer look at the team's most recent 6th overall pick...

Morris Claiborne

Claiborne was a star in the SEC at Louisiana State from 2009 to 2011. In his final season, he would be named the country's best defensive back by winning the Jim Thorpe Award. Claiborne was also a unanimous first team All-American this year, while earning all SEC honors as well.

He would enter the draft as many analysts' top corner, flying up draft boards after starting off his junior season as a second to third round talent. Morris was expected to be drafted anywhere in the top 10, potentially as high as 4th overall to the Vikings.

Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III would come off the board with picks #1 and #2 respectively, followed by the Browns grabbing Trent Richardson at #3. Minnesota passed on Claiborne to draft tackle Matt Kalil out of USC, and he slipped past the Jaguars with the next pick when they opted to select WR Justin Blackmon.

This left Claiborne still available for the Saint Louis Rams at #6 overall. Jerry Jones and the Cowboys came calling for the pick, and swapped their first rounder (14 overall) with the Rams to draft the LSU product. Dallas also gave up their 2nd round pick, which the Rams traded to the Chicago Bears later on.

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys on the Clock: Morris Claiborne, #6 Overall

April 26, 2012: Morris Claiborne, cornerback from LSU and drafted with the 6th pick by Dallas Cowboys, standing alongside NFL commissioner Roger Goodell with his new jersey during the 77th National Football Lague Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, New York. (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

Claiborne started his rookie season at corner for the Dallas Cowboys despite missing OTAs due to injury. He would deal with some more nagging injuries throughout the year, but start 15 games for the 8-8 Cowboys. He would record his first career interception in a week 6 win against the Carolina Panthers on the road.

More injuries would continue to get to Claiborne entering his second season in 2013, as he added on some weight in preparation to build off of his rookie campaign. A dislocated shoulder in the season opener restricted Claiborne, who would stay on the field but begin to lose snaps to Orlando Scandrick.

Things were trending down for the defensive back that started his NFL career with so many expectations. They would only go further south in 2014, as Claiborne stormed out of the team's facility in September following the loss of his starting job. Claiborne started just 7 games the previous season, and would start only 3 in 2014 - again suffering injuries that put him on the injured reserve in week 4.

Morris Claiborne had one season left on his deal in Dallas, and fans were already through with the injury-prone and often-burned corner. Instead, Claiborne seemingly defied all odds and rehabbed ahead of schedule from his injuries to start 11 games.

Not only was Claiborne back on the field with some consistency, but he was a much improved corner that finally lived up his draft status.

Claiborne's 2015 campaign earned him a new one-year deal coming in to 2016:

//insidethestar.com/dallas-cowboys-re-sign-cornerback-morris-claiborne/

The following players have also been selected with the 6th overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys:

Lee Roy Jordan, LB, 1963

For more on Jordan's 11 year career with the Cowboys, click here to read his "Countdown to Kickoff" profile from Inside The Star Staff Writer RJ Ochoa - naming him the greatest player to wear #55 in team history.

Tomorrow on "Cowboys on the Clock": 2003 first round pick Terence Newman

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys on the Clock: Morris Claiborne, #6 Overall" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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Can Rookie OL Connor McGovern Compete For A Starting Spot?

Kevin Brady

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Connor McGovern

Raising eyebrows in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Cowboys added Penn State offensive lineman Connor McGovern to their already deep OL depth chart.

McGovern, who played guard for the Nittany Lions, was reportedly by-far the best player remaining on the Cowboys draft board when they came on the clock in round three. Still, with seemingly more pressing needs yet to be addressed, Dallas' selection of McGovern was certainly a surprise.

When you watch the tape, though, you immediately see what the Cowboys loved about Connor McGovern.

A "plug-and-play" type guard, Connor McGovern is the type of rookie you'd expect to contribute in year one. On many teams he may be a candidate to start at guard or center from the beginning of his rookie season, but here in Dallas, his role for the 2019 season is somewhat in question.

Clearly, being a day two pick, there's no doubt that McGovern will make the Cowboys roster. But can he compete for a starting job?

During OTA's McGovern took reps at both guard and center, pointing towards the possibility of him being the first interior offensive lineman off the bench if one of the starters were to go down with an injury. Fellow interior linemen Joe Looney and Xavier Su'a-Filo each contributed in big ways during the 2018 season, however, and will be tough to beat out during camp.

Obviously McGovern won't be starting over All-Pros Travis Frederick and Zack Martin, but could he dethrone Connor Williams from his left guard position?

While possible, I would still say it's unlikely. The Cowboys selection of McGovern seems to be more about 2020 and beyond than it is about the 2019 season. With right tackle La'el Collins coming up on a contract year, Dallas might elect to let him walk in free agency, move Williams back to his college position of tackle, and slide McGovern into the left guard slot.

This seems fool-proof in theory, but this many moving parts across the offensive line could spell trouble early on in 2020. Regardless, Connor McGovern's arrival gives Dallas the flexibility to consider all options on their offensive line.

In reality, McGovern strengthened a strength for Dallas, and may be needed to prove himself as early as this Fall if injury issues arise.



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Cowboys en Español: Analizando al Rival Más Fuerte en la NFC East

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Amari Cooper has Final Say on Trade Compensation in Cowboys Win 3

Los Dallas Cowboys se han llevado el título de la NFC East tres de los últimos cinco años. Dos veces han sido con el QB Dak Prescott como el titular. Sin embargo, no han logrado llevarse la división en años consecutivos. De hecho, ningún equipo de la NFC East ha logrado coronarse campeón divisional en años consecutivos desde el 2004. Los Cowboys, actuales campeones del grupo, buscarán romper esa tendencia en la temporada que está por comenzar en septiembre.

Los New York Giants, Washington Redskins y Philadelphia Eagles intentarán evitar que tal hazaña suceda. Sin embargo, parece ser que solo uno de estos tres equipos podrá ser rival para un equipo de Dallas bastante completo tanto en ofensiva como en defensiva.

Prescott vs. Wentz, the Meaningless Debate Continues

Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz, Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY Sports)

Los Eagles, quienes estuvieron en postemporada al igual que los Cowboys en 2018 (pero en calidad de comodín), cuentan con un muy fuerte equipo para la próxima temporada. En las apuestas deportivas, las casas de apuesta tienen como favorito a ganar la división a Philadelphia. El margen de diferencia entre ambos equipos es muy pequeño, poniendo las expectativas para ambas ciudades en aproximadamente el mismo nivel.

Para Eagles, termina una agotadora discusión entre Nick Foles y Carson Wentz después de que el veterano partiera a Jacksonville en la agencia libre y dejara a la segunda selección global del 2016 al mando de su equipo, como debería de ser. Wentz es un QB prometedor para su equipo. Antes de lesionarse en 2017, era el claro favorito para ser premiado como el MVP de la temporada. Pero la fortaleza del equipo va más allá de su mariscal de campo.

Doug Pederson ha demostrado ser un head coach muy capaz en la NFL, y tiene la fortuna de liderar un equipo repleto de talento. Similar a los Cowboys, los Eagles tuvieron un offseason algo discreto pero efectivo.

En ofensiva, Eagles consiguió talento para el juego terrestre después de conseguir al ex-Chicago Bear Jordan Howard y al novato de Penn State, Miles Sanders. Como receptor hace su regreso a Philadelphia Desean Jackson, quien será un arma peligrosa con Alshon Jeffery y Nelson Agholor.

Catching Up With Dallas Cowboys NFC East Rivals' Offseasons 1

Para la defensiva, consiguieron ayuda en la línea defensiva (que de por sí lucía muy talentosa) firmando al DT Malik Jackson. Como linebacker, una posición en la que necesitaban una mejora, llega Zach Brown. Ese frente defensivo es de temerse, sin duda.

Pero no solo se trata de aquellos jugadores nuevos en Philadelphia, sino las retenciones claves. Con Eagles se quedan después de firmar extensiones y nuevos contratos el centro Jason Kelce, el tackle Jason Peters, el caza cabezas Brandon Graham y el cornerback Ronald Darby.

Los Cowboys tienen un rival fuerte a quien superar si quieren llevarse el título de la división por segundo año consecutivo. Ambos equipos se enfrentan en las semanas 7 y 16, pero la NFC East se tendrá que ganar con un esfuerzo en los 16 partidos de la temporada.

Recientemente, Eagles y Cowboys han representado la rivalidad más importante dentro de la división y el 2019 no será la excepción. A nosotros como aficionados, nos espera un espectáculo.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Analizando al Rival Más Fuerte en la NFC East" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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What Will Joe Looney’s Role Look Like In 2019?

Kevin Brady

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Would Cowboys Trade Joe Looney if the Saints Came Calling?

The quick answer to the question the title poses is: he will be the backup center.

And, well, yes. Duh. Right?

Now that veteran center Travis Frederick has returned to claim his rightful spot on the Cowboys offensive line, Joe Looney must slide back into his backup role. Looney filled in for the All Pro center admirably in 2018, playing well above expectation level for much of the season. Still, there was clearly a drop off in play between he and Frederick, especially when it came to communication across the offensive line.

It may not be as simple as "Joe Looney is back to being a backup interior lineman," though, especially considering the offseason which the Cowboys had. Dallas went out and added Penn State guard Connor McGovern with their second selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, adding him to a very crowded interior group.

Now, Joe Looney is joined by two guards which played significant time in 2018 in Connor Williams and Xavier Su'a-Filo, the unquestioned starter Travis Frederick, and this rookie who draft pundits have praised to be plug-and-play on the inside.

Looney himself, however, doesn't sound too concerned about how these pieces may fall during Training Camp. “Whatever happens, happens. My role is to be the best player that I can be. When the team needs me, my job is to be ready,” Looney told DallasCowboys.com recently. "Right now, it’s about getting better. If my number is called, I’ll be ready.”

There's no question that Joe Looney is both a favorite of the fans, and in the Cowboys locker room. The jolly lineman which NBC's Cris Collinsworth dubbed "Jumbo Joe" has proved his worth both on and off the field during his time in Dallas. Still, he isn't the player now that someone like Frederick is, and he doesn't have the ceiling or potential that someone like Connor Williams has.

One of these interior linemen is likely to be released before the season starts, but my guess would not be Joe Looney. Su'a-Filo did a fine job when Connor Williams missed time due to injury in 2018, but he is likely the odd man out on the interior of the Cowboys offensive line.

Joe Looney's ability and comfortability at the center position is extremely valuable, as is his experience from a season ago playing a full season for this offensive line. It would be extremely difficult for Dallas to move on from him in favor of lesser-known players, especially if Frederick's health is still any sort of question mark.



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