Cowboys NFL draft pick Claiborne OK with Sanders comparisons

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys obviously have high expectations for first-round pick Morris Claiborne.

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First, the Cowboys traded up eight spots and lost their second-round draft pick to get Claiborne sixth overall.

Owner Jerry Jones then immediately talked about Claiborne being a difference-maker. He called the All-American from LSU the best cornerback prospect team scouts have graded since Deion Sanders, the Hall of Famer who was a key part of their last Super Bowl championship 16 years ago.

"That's awesome. Anytime you can hear your name in the same sentence as Deion, you've got to be doing something right," Claiborne said Friday. "Deion is a great player and he left a mark here with the Dallas Cowboys and he's moved on. I'm one of the players coming up now and I'm going to try to leave my mark."

Claiborne said he is motivated by and welcomes such expectations.

During his introduction at the team's Valley Ranch facility, Claiborne was presented with jersey No. 24. Among former Cowboys who wore that number were cornerbacks Everson Walls and Larry Brown, the MVP in their last Super Bowl victory after two second-half interceptions.

"It still feels like it isn't real, but I know it's real," Claiborne said. "I'm just so excited to get in, to get to work, to get around my teammates."

Though the Cowboys went into the second day of the draft without a second-round pick, they felt Claiborne was well worth it. The only player they had rated higher on their draft board was Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who as expected, was taken first overall by Indianapolis.

"He plays a premium position, we think he's an outstanding athlete, an elite athlete and an outstanding person," coach Jason Garrett said. "Corner is a premium position. ... It gives you a lot of freedom to do things on defense if you have a guy who can shut somebody down or take a receiver out of a game."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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