Dallas Cowboys Draft CB Morris Claiborne with the #6 Pick

A few have suggested that the Dallas Cowboys might move up in the 2012 Draft, but almost nobody counted on what happened.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26:  Morris Claiborne (R)...

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Morris Claiborne (R)from LSU holds up a jersey as he stands on stage after he was selected #6 overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of during the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Several thought that Alabama safety Mark Barron would be gone by the #14 pick, so the draft gurus started saying that Dallas would take a defensive tackle. One name thrown out there was LSU DT Michael Brockers.

Right team, wrong player.

Jerry Jones and team sent their #14 pick and their #45 pick in the second round to St. Louis to acquire LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. He was the highest-rated corner in the draft and joins a secondary that features another former first-round pick in Mike Jenkins.

Claiborne is a former receiver, and his ball and cover skills have been rated as “exceptional.” He missed only one game in the past two years. He won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back and helped to lead LSU to an SEC title. Some had Claiborne going as high as #3 to the Minnesota Vikings.

He joins Jenkins, Brandon Carr, and Orlando Scandrick. Given that Dallas gave Carr more than $50 million and given that the team signed Scandrick a long-term deal last year, they are not going anywhere. However, Jenkins has not evolved as hoped since his solid 2009 season, and he has battled injuries. The Cowboys might try to add more picks by trading Jenkins.

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The Most Miserable First-Round Cowboys Bust Was David LaFleur?

It was often a challenge to find Bobby Carpenter on the screen while watching him play for the Cowboys. Fortunately, we have arrows.

Yahoo ran a post about “sad, miserable first-round flops for all 32 teams.” The results were largely predictable, but I don’t think the selection for the worst Dallas Cowboys draft pick was the best (or, um, worst):

Dallas Cowboys: David LaFleur, 22nd overall, 1997. In a four-year career, LaFleur averaged fewer than 200 yards receiving per season. That’s about 12 yards per game, which isn’t what you’re looking for out of a first-round tight end. The other tight end taken in the first round that year fared slightly better.

Honorable Mention: Bobby Carpenter

I can’t defend LaFleur, but he was a bust because of injuries as much as anything else. He showed improvement during his first three years in the league and caught seven touchdown passes in 1999, when he played in all 16 games. However, his back was a mess, forcing him to retire after the 2000 season. If the Cowboys had taken LaFleur with a top 10 pick, that would have been one thing. However, Dallas took him with #22 pick, nine picks after the Chiefs took Tony Gonzalez. If the Cowboys really wanted a bust in the first round of the 1997 draft, they could have taken DE Jon Harris (#25 by the Eagles), Jim Druckenmiller (#26 by the 49ers), or Rae Carruth (#27 by the Panthers).

Selecting Bobby Carpenter with the #18 pick never made sense. Taking Shante Carver with the #23 pick never made sense. Reaching for Rod Hill from Kentucky State never made sense.

Just for good measure, let’s throw in Tody Smith (1971), Bill Thomas (1972), Charley Young (1974), Larry Bethea (1978), Billy Cannon, Jr. (1984), and Kevin Brooks (1985).

And I’d like to mention Bobby Carpenter one more time, just because I can.

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