The first meaningful game of the 2012 NFL season is in the books. Last night the Cowboys travelled to New York to take on their NFC East divisional rivals, the Giants. The game featured the sixth and 32nd overall picks, Morris Claiborne and David Wilson.
For Claiborne and the Cowboys, it was a good outing for the most part. Claiborne perhaps benefited from lining up against Hakeem Nicks for the majority of the game, who had very little practice time coming into the game. He had his rookie bumps, like all rookies do, but there wasn't much he could do about the first reception he gave up. Eli Manning threw a back shoulder pass that was right on the money. Claiborne stood very little chance of getting to it, as is the design of the throw.
Later on in the first quarter, Claiborne gave up an inside slant route. He initially made good contact, but allowed the receiver to break off much too easily. Once the receiver broke the contact, he had no problems getting inside and Claiborne was beat. Another play in the second half, Claiborne opened his hips outside too early, allowing the receiver to cut back down on a hitch route. Claiborne quickly recovered and made the tackle, but gave up the reception. On Ahmad Bradshaw's touchdown run, Claiborne came down to help seal off the backside. He got too tight to the line, and allowed Bradshaw to get outside and score the touchdown.
I am nit-picking here, and as I said, on the whole he was pretty solid. A lot of the time he had Nicks shut down, and forced Manning to look the other way. An encouraging start for Claiborne, but plenty to work on as well.
Giants first round pick David Wilson, in contrast, had a rough night. He only saw two carries in the entire game after fumbling his second and turning it over. It shouldn't come as a surprise, fumbling was Wilson's big red flag, amassing seven fumbles in college. Wilson appeared to be in tears on the sidelines over the incident. Now by all means, be upset that you let down your teammates, but to be crying about it is something that cannot happen. Half the battle in the NFL is the ability to put the past behind you and focus on the next play at hand. Wilson clearly struggled to let go of the play, so the Giants didn't let him have another. The only time he saw the field was to return kicks.