IRVING, Texas – If any team can relate to the Cowboys' recent issues with a highly-drafted cornerback, it's probably their next opponent.
The Saints drafted Patrick Robinson No. 32 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft following their Super Bowl win. That's not quite the same draft status as Morris Claiborne, taken No. 6 overall in 2012, but Robinson's struggles haven't gone unnoticed this season.
It certainly didn't go unnoticed when Robinson was benched in favor of third-year corner Corey White, a fifth-round pick from 2012.
Having made that decision last week, Saints coach Sean Payton said he gave Robinson some encouraging stats that could serve to list Claiborne's spirits, as well.
"Last week I had a meeting with Patrick and we talked for a while and I had our department put together a list for me of 14, 15, I think it was 16 former high draft picks at corner that at one time started, but then technically demoted or benched and then later came back and have gone to have really good careers. I left him with that," Payton said.
Payton said the list included several who corners went on to starting roles and even Pro Bowl selections after hitting obstacles in their careers.
"You could just go on and on. There were guys like Amukamara, there were guys later than that – Asomugah. These were guys that were high picks, but there were more than just three or four," he said. "I was curious to see [embedded_ad]
what that list would look like, and (my assistant), had given it to me and it was three pages long. I was really encouraged to have that to be able to share with Patrick."
The Cowboys might not have drawn up a similar list for Claiborne, but the parallels are undeniable. Orlando Scandrick, who will replace him in the starting lineup, was also a fifth-round pick back in 2008. It remains to be seen how both Claiborne and Robinson will respond to their demotions, but Payton said there's plenty of precedent for a bounce-back.
"There's been a ton of players ahead of him that have gone through some of those tough challenges and have fought through it, responded and gone on to have long careers," he said. "I wanted him to see that physically and to see the number of names on that list. It was pretty impressive."