Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 4/27/12
IRVING, Texas The Dallas Cowboys indicated they would be content to sit at No. 14 and draft the highest player on their board. But it turns out ownergeneral manager Jerry Jones woke up Thursday morning with an itchy finger. The Cowboys made the boldest move of the first round Thursday when they moved up eight spots to select LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. They decided he was the best defensive player in the draft (second overall on their board), and that's why they were willing to send the 14th pick and their second-round choice to the St. Louis Rams. Moments after the pick, scouts were spotted in the hall exchanging hugs and fist bumps. This team still has plenty of holes to fill, but they've decided to load up at a premium position. "He's the most consensus pick and consensus move that I can ever remember on our draft day," crowed Jones during a news conference. "I like the idea of going up for quality because it diminishes the chance of a bad pick. It's easier for me." Jones noted that some of his worst investments have occurred when he was looking for a bargain, so he's more comfortable overpaying hence the five-year, 50 million contract given to cornerback Brandon Carr in free agency. But in this instance, the Rams weren't exactly holding the No. 6 overall pick for ransom. They contacted the Cowboys at noon Thursday to gauge their interest in a possible trade. Jones and son said they'd discussed the possibility of going up the board for Claiborne three days ago, but Stephen initially told the Rams he thought the move would be "too rich." The Cowboys thought there was a good chance Claiborne would go off the board in the first five picks, but when he didn't they decided to make an aggressive move. "A lot of charts showed that we should've given up more," said Jones. "Stephen traded with them real good. They wanted more, but he did a great job dealing with it and articulating we were as high as we wanted to go." You have to respect a man who will come right out and suggest that his son pretty much took advantage of the unsuspecting Rams. Jerry said the Cowboys haven't had a higher grade on a defensive back since Deion Sanders arrived in '95. He also made a point to emphasize that Claiborne had a higher grade than the top cornerback in last year's draft, Patrick Peterson. Now, the Cowboys will decide what to do with former first-round pick Mike Jenkins, who can't be thrilled with Claiborne's arrival as he heads into the final year of his contract. Jerry and head coach Jason Garrett said at the news conference that you couldn't have enough talented corners, but the owner would not guarantee that Jenkins would be at training camp. The most celebrated nickel corner in the history of the organization, Orlando Scandrick, signed a five-year, 27 million contract at the start of last season. The Cowboys would have to take too large a salary cap hit to unload him at this point. So much like Asante Samuel with the Eagles, Jenkins likely becomes expendable. He showed a lot of determination last season playing through shoulder and knee injuries, but that's not enough to guarantee him a role in this defense. The Cowboys believe that Claiborne will give them the playmaker they've been coveting for years at cornerback. He started for two years at LSU and finished with 11 interceptions for 274 return yards. Former Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman could run with wide receivers when healthy, but he didn't get his hands on a lot of footballs. Claiborne's a big corner (5-11, 188) who can play press coverage or play off the ball. It's been forever since the Cowboys had a corner who could go up and make plays on the ball at its highest point. That's what Claiborne does best. In case you've forgotten, it was reported that Claiborne scored a remarkably low 4 on his Wonderlic exam during the combine. The Wonderlic was designed to test a player's cognitive skills, but Garrett made it clear Thursday that Claiborne had a high "football IQ." Jones said the low score wasn't an issue at all and Claiborne provided a delightfully unvarnished answer. "When it came out, some of the things that were said, I'm human so I had a problem with some of it, but I didn't let that get me down," said Claiborne. "I know what type of person I am. I know that test doesn't reflect on how I learn or what type of a person I am. I looked at the test and there wasn't any questions that came with football, so I pretty much blew the test off." The Cowboys believe Claiborne has great football instincts and seemed thrilled to land the second-ranked player on their board. Stephen said that Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was the only player in front of Claiborne. The Cowboys are assuming that having better cornerbacks will give DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer more time to get to the quarterback. Jones made the laughable statement Wednesday that Dallas didn't need to add any more pass-rushers. Let's hope that was simply Jones running a misdirection play. But for one night, the Cowboys appeared to have an actual plan in the draft. Now, we'll see if they can back it up the next two days.
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