The greatest local sports minds — well, okay, my drinking buddies — pretty much agree that Dallas Cowboys owner and general mis-manager Jerry Jones made a smart, daring move by drafting LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne.
The Cowboys traded the 14th and 45th picks for the No. 6 slot to grab the 2011 Thorpe Award winner. The award is named after the baddest mofo to ever play sports, Jim Thorpe. His American Indian name was Wa-tho-Huk, translated as Bright Path.
Thorpe eventually became a penniless bouncer and ditch digger who drank himself to death. Come to think of it, the list of Thorpe Award winners isn’t exactly stacked with success stories. Most of them started strong and then faded into journeymen. The Cowboys have drafted several previous Thorpe winners who have fared better in their NFL careers than most.
Deion “Prime Time” Sanders (1988) is the most notable former award winner. He was no bust, unless you count his bust in Canton.
Oklahoma safety Roy Williams won the Thorpe in 2001 and played five or six great years with the Cowboys until the NFL exposed his Achilles heel by creating a tackling rule that rendered him helpless. Now he’s digging through old boxes of underwear on Storage Wars: Texas.
Terence Newman won the award in 2002. He delivered seven or eight solid years of play at cornerback for the Cowboys, but the last couple of years he’s been jumping out of the way of opposing running backs to avoid collisions. That’s pretty smart, unless you’re a football player. So the Cowboys dumped him. He’ll be dating Kim Kardashian soon.
Claiborne will start as a rookie as part of a devastating duo with fellow cornerback and recent acquisition Brandon Carr. That means the team doesn’t hang its prospects on the talented but ultimately heartbreaking CB Mike Jenkins, who will be leaving next year in free agency anyway.
The two new corners allow the defensive line to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The Cowboys improve from 8-8 to 10-6 this season, make the playoffs, get on a roll, Dez Bryant and Miles Austin come alive, new daddy Tony Romo hits his peak, and the Cowboys beat Pittsburgh Steelers 24-3 to win the Super Bowl. Count on it, baybeee! Three-inch font for the headline! How ’bout them Cowboys! America’s Team! Yeehawwww!