IRVING, Texas - When the Cowboys traded up to the No. 6 pick in the 2012 draft to select
Terence Newman was the fifth overall draft pick back in 2003 and, much like Claiborne, he was asked to contribute immediately. He started at cornerback his rookie season and was even selected as a Pro Bowl alternate that year.
There’s no denying that Newman looked impressive for a rookie and with 32 career interceptions as a Cowboy, he certainly made a name for himself as a playmaker. Claiborne already had that reputation coming out of LSU. He had 11 interceptions in his last two seasons of college and was heralded for his great timing and speed.
But Cowboy fans have had to be patient while waiting for Claiborne to make big plays. Twelve games into his career he still has just one interception, a red zone pick against Cam Newton of the Panthers.
In Newman’s rookie year he recorded four interceptions. However, like Claiborne, twelve games into the season he only had one. Three of Newman’s four interceptions came all in one game against the Washington Redskins in Week 15.
That’s the thing about playmakers; they can’t always force the issue. They have to wait for the right opportunities. Claiborne gave Cowboy fans a taste of his playmaking skills when he picked up a Bryce Brown fumble and ran it back for a 50-yard touchdown against the Eagles last Sunday.
For the most part, Claiborne has given fans reasons to be excited about his future with the team, but if Newman’s career is any evidence, cornerback for the Cowboys can be a thankless position, especially when you are an early draft pick with high expectations.
Newman made a lot of big plays during his time in Dallas, but his coverage skills were not always considered top notch and for that reason, the public perception of him was sometimes not all that positive.
Claiborne will be expected to make big plays during his career, because that is the reputation that he has earned himself. But in order to be considered a success, he will have to continue to prove that he is a valuable shutdown cornerback as well.