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LSU's Morris Claiborne Heads Deep 2012 Cornerback Class - Draft Insiders' Scouting Report

Cornerback Morris Claiborne Ranks as Top Defensive Player in NFL Draft 2012

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Photo – CB Morris Claiborne - LSU

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1. Morris Claiborne #17 - 5’11” 185 lbs. - LSU - Sp. 4.50 Rating 94
Hindu Theory: Champ Bailey

Talented junior athlete declared for the NFL Draft after an outstanding 2011 season to complete an excellent career for the Tigers. Morris is an elite cornerback and the next premier defender from the Tigers’ elite program. He is one of the best prospects in this entire class and combines very good size and reach along with the top athleticism for the cornerback spot with rare matchup skills. He has the speed to run with burners and the size and strength to battle the big receivers, though his timed speed is at 4.50 or slightly lower. He is a big time playmaker with the ability to blanket receivers and make plays on the ball. He has made an impact starting on the corner since his sophomore season opposite Patrick Peterson. He completed a terrific career with a huge final performance that ranks him as the premier cover man over the past decade and a unique playmaker with shutdown corner skills. He earned 1st team SEC honors the past two seasons, grading out high weekly vs NFL caliber receivers. He displays very quick footwork and reactions with keen instincts and fine recovery speed that warrants a top five 1st round selection in April. He has the AA and development to compete for a rookie starting corner role after showing both a high level of development and a well-rounded skill set for the pro game. He has shown very good ball and coverage skills where he anticipates quickly and has the athleticism to beat receivers in routes to make plays. He has a muscular frame and will support the run and make stops, though he lacks pop as a tackler. He displays sudden speed and quickness to close on the ball and make plays. He has well developed natural coverage ability with the smooth hip flexibility, very quick footwork and the closing speed to plant and drive on the ball. He shows excellent awareness in coverage with the instincts and ability to read and react to routes with the AA to make plays on the ball. Over his career, he earned the shutdown label in a program that provided Patrick Peterson last spring to the draft and has sophomore Tyrann Mathieu ready to follow. He has experience in both man and zone coverage with top instincts and very good understanding of his responsibilities. He is a long agile cover man with the top field speed to recover in the deep game and quickness to break on the ball in the shorter patterns. In run support, he is a reliable tackler who will come up at the LOS and make tackles. He shows the ability to stay on his feet, get off blockers and finish plays. His good height and great arm length (33 ¼”) allows him to matchup well with big receivers in coverage and make plays on the ball. Despite his lean frame, he is rarely out muscled and has strong hands to maintain position with a high level of development for the bump and run technique. He is highly instinctive cover man who reads the QB and routes very well with the ability to quickly break on the ball and make the key breakup or turnover. He is very fast to read and diagnose in man situations that has allowed him to make big plays despite teams throwing away from him over his late career. As a junior, he started all 14 games and posted 51 tackles, 6 picks and 6 PBU, earning 1st team SEC honors. As a sophomore, he started 12 games and posted 37 tackles, 5 picks and 6 PBU, earning 2nd team SEC honors. Over his career, he started 26 of 33 games with 11 interceptions and 12 PBU. At the NFL Combine, he checked in at over 5’11” and 188 lbs. He ran 4.50 and 4.58 times and did not lift. He did a 34.5” VL and a 9’10” BJ with a 7.01 three cone and 4.12 short shuffle times that completed outstanding agility and positional drills. He also ran quick position drills, displaying fine footwork and smooth hip flexibility. He is similar to Champ Bailey in size, athleticism, playmaking abilities and overall level of development at similar stages of their careers. He graded out high facing SEC blue chip receivers annually. He has very quick feet and flexible hips, very good body control and quick COD skills at a high LOD. Blue chip corner with the very developed skill set for the position that could enable him to win a rookie starting job and eventually the Pro Bowl. Top 5 talent and highly developed cover man with early starting potential with shutdown ability to be among the best in the league. Clubs like the Bucs, Vikings and Rams interested.
Draft Projection: 1st Round - Top 5 Selection