Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Claiborne Could Become the Next "Prime Time"

Clint EilandAnalyst IFebruary 13, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 05:  Morris Claiborne #17 of the LSU Tigers against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With the NFL draft approaching fast, teams are already decided on who they will draft. In Tampa Bay, it is almost certain that Morris Claiborne will be the pick for the Bucs. 

He will certainly be welcomed with open arms in Tampa Bay, considering the current situation of the defense. It is not even certain if defensive backs Aqib Talib and Ronde Barber are returning next year. Basically, they really need Claiborne.

Don't pass this pick off as just a good player coming to strengthen the defense though. Claiborne is something special. 

All the draft boards have him so high up for a reason. He is very versatile in his game and defines what it means to be an athlete. He excels in both man and zone defenses, can match up with any receiver and is a playmaker.

Look at all the great defensive players to come through Tampa Bay. Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber, John Lynch, Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice and Lee Roy Selmon, just to name a few. I can totally see Claiborne joining these names.

The reason I am giving Claiborne so much praise is because he shows that he can be a huge player. Quarterbacks are afraid to throw to his side of the field because they know that he is a ball hawk. Not that they would have any reason to throw towards him anyway, he already locks down receivers left and right.

Some of you are probably questioning why I am putting him in the same boat as Deion Sanders. This is because his career already looks very similar to the way Sanders' career went. 

First, he already has the build of Sanders, being 6'1" and near 185 pounds. He has similar speed and ball handling skills also.



Then you look at his statistics in college and they are once again very similar, except that Claiborne in his senior season had more tackles and more interceptions than Sanders did in any year of his college career. That tends to signal a good sign.

But you're wondering how he can do in the pros. Well, look no further than to the very similar story of Sanders. Claiborne is a highly touted corner back who is prepared to go at the 5th pick. Sanders was a highly touted cornerback who was selected at the 5th pick. 

There are really too many similarities to believe that Claiborne is just another defensive guy.

With all things considered, I really do believe that Claiborne could become the next "Prime Time." He already has the skill set and history to back him up. The thing that separates both men from the rest is their ability to make the big plays.

Tampa Bay can say hello to their new found defensive leader.