Has a tall, long frame with very good athleticism. Has good hips and turns and runs with receivers very well. Can mirror them, and has good burst out of his breaks. Has quick feet and plays balanced on his drops. Has excellent ball skills and consistently high points the ball in the air. Does a good job getting inside position on the deep patterns and breaking up passes. Will jump the crossing routes due to his burst and make plays there. Is very good in press coverage as he does a good job getting the jam and knocking the receiver off his route. WIlling in run support, stepping up and delivering a hit off the edge. Will wrap up at times in the open field. Has nice closing burst in pursuit to chop the legs of a big tight end to make the stop. Works well as a kickoff returner due to good straight-line speed and acceleration to hit the seam quickly.
Has sloopy technique at times. Doesn't sit in his backpedal, which can limit his burst upfield at times and prevent him from driving on underneath throws. Not very effective in off coverage because he doesn't take good angles to the ball after giving up the underneath catch. Can play flat-footed and unbalanced at times, trusting too much in his athleticism to mirror the receiver. Gets a bit handsy at times when running downfield with receivers, and can draw some penalties. Is not particularly adept against the run, as he doesn't do a good job wrapping up. Needs to do a better job breaking down at the point of attack, and not a guy you can trust to make stops in the open field. Doesn't have great awareness vs. the run, as he can get caught out of position and lose outside contain, especially when he's working off the line of scrimmage. Has difficulty getting off blocks at times when going against the screen. Dances a bit too much at times as a kickoff returner and doesn't have great burst out of cuts, because he tends to chop his feet.
Claiborne is a top athlete with a tall, long frame that is rare in corners. He is a very good press corner and shines there, but is not nearly as adept when he's working off. He has the potential to be a very good matchup corner in a press-heavy scheme, and you can leave him on an island against a top wideout. He's not quite the premier athlete that Patrick Peterson was, and he's still a little unpolished as a corner. Part of that is because he was mainly quarterback in high school, came to LSU to play receiver, but moved to corner in his freshman fall camp. Claiborne has the upside you want in a corner, and in the right scheme he can definitely be a player that can slant the field. He's only just begun to scratch the surface of his potential.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/3) vs. Oregon: 1 missed tackle; 3 targets, 2 rec., 24 yds, 12.0 avg, 21 YAC, 0 TDs
(9/15) at Mississippi St: 1 missed tackle, 1 key blocked; 4 tgt., 0 rec., 0 yds, 1 INT, 1 PD
(11/5) at Alabama: 3 tgt., 0 rec., 0 yds, 1 INT, 1 PD
(12/3) vs. Georgia: 5 tgt., 3 rec., 60 yds, 20.0 avg, 19 YAC,; 1 INT, 1 PD; 1 penalty (def. holding)
(1/9) vs. Alabama: 0 tgt., 0 rec., 0 yds
2011: 14 GP/14 GS, 51 tackles, 1.0 TFLs, 0.0 sacks, 6 INTs, 6 PD, 0 FF, 0 FR; 22 KOR, 25.1 avg, 1 TDS
2010: 12/12-37-1.0-0.0-5-6-0-1; 2-28.5-0
- missed 1 game in 2010 due to a concussion
Claiborne can be one of the premier corners in the league if he goes to the right scheme. A press heavy scheme that will put him on an island against a top wideout, and he could be a very good player. If you want him to play off coverage, then he's going to be a lot less effective because he's just not great there. I think in the right scheme, he can value similar to Nnamdi Asomugha in Oakland, but it wouldn't surprise me if his NFL career mirrors that of Antonio Cromartie a bit. I think he can be prone to get beat from time to time, but he has the ability that if he develops, he can slant the field like Asomugha did. Quarterbacks aren't going to want to challenge him because he can make them pay. He's not a guy that I think is going to get a ton of interceptions when all is said and done because like Asomugha teams will try to avoid him. Early in his career, he'll probably be able to rack up higher interception totals because teams will be less willing to avoid him, which should give him more opportunities. He has to improve though, and polish up his footwork and technique a bit more. I think he can and will, but he's not there yet. So I don't expect him to come into the league right away and be a top corner. But it shouldn't take him more than a year or two to start to live up to his potential and be a No. 1 corner. Unlike Peterson, he's not a versaile guy that can play multiple roles in multiple schemes. He's a very scheme-specific player that within that scheme he can be a very good player. Outside that scheme, he's more likely to be only an above average starter. He has the ability and potential to improve in the areas where he's currently weak in, and a player with his athleticism isn't ever going to be poor at anything. But if he goes to a team that wants him to play off zone or off man, it's going to take him a lot longer before he impacts as a top-tier corner, if ever.
Nnamdi Asomugha, Eagles.
Claiborne would be a very good fit in Mike Nolan's scheme which prefers bigger press corners, That's because Claiborne can be left on an island, and his ability to jam receivers gives those blitzes a lot more time to get to the quarterback, and also allows the coaches to mix up their blitzes more because now safeties can be brought into the fray. He played predominantly on the right side at LSU, and would be a good fit to work behind Robinson for a year. But his upside and ability would almost certainly push Robinson off the roster. While Claiborne could get looks in the slot as a rookie, he probably would not thrive in that role as the nickel guy between Robinson and Grimes. The Falcons would probably be better off moving Grimes to the slot and having Claiborne play on the outside in nickel situations.
For a team that will use him in the right scheme, Claiborne offers Top 10 potential. For a team that wants to be a bit more multiple with their schemes, he's better value in the middle to later portion of the first round.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Man Coverage: 8.0
Zone Coverage: 6.0
Ball Skills: 9.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.