Even though LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne was coming off surgery to repair ligament damage in his left wrist, the Dallas Cowboys packaged their own first-round draft pick with their second-round selection to move up and select Claiborne No. 6 overall in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Claiborne, who was signed to a fully guaranteed contract worth $16.264 million, missed the OTAs and minicamp with the injury and has recently been sidelined with a knee injury during training camp.
With less than four weeks to go until the regular-season opener against the New York Giants, the Cowboys are eager to get their top pick on the field. Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones says the rookie needs to learn how to play through certain injuries.
"Mo Claiborne's got to get out there," Jones told the "Elf & Slater Show" on KRLD-FM (via Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News) on Friday. "The times he's been out there, it's been impressive. But he certainly can't make the club in the tub, if you will. He's got to get out there. It's time. We got to start having a mentality that we're going to play through things."
Jones' frustration is understandable. Claiborne was the shiniest toy under the offseason Christmas tree and the team would really like to play with it. But any notion of there being any "can't make the club in the tub" ramifications for a first-round pick is silly. Even with Mike Jenkins on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, Dallas has enough depth to get through the first part of the preseason without Claiborne, who they'll need to be healthy when the real season gets underway on Sept. 5.
UPDATE: Jones told reporters Saturday he was upset with how his comments were misconstrued, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Jones added that he had no issue with Claiborne.