2014 NFL Draft: Cyrus Kouandjio, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix turning pro

By Derek Harper | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

Cyrus Kouandjio could be a high first-round draft choice. (USATSI)
Cyrus Kouandjio could be a high first-round draft choice. (USATSI)

More Draft: 2014 NFL Mock Drafts | Prospect Rankings | Latest news | Underclassmen

Alabama left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will forgo their senior seasons and enter the 2014 NFL Draft, according to CBSSports.com's Jeremy Fowler.

Kouandjio is considered a near-lock to go in the first round despite struggling in the Crimson Tide's Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma. He is currently the No. 17 overall prospect and No. 4 offensive tackle according to NFLDraftScout.com ratings.

Senior Analyst Rob Rang projects Kouandjio as a good fit for the St. Louis Rams with the 13th pick while Dane Brugler has him going to the Miami Dolphins with the No. 19 overall pick in their current Mock Drafts. Rang has Kouandjio No. 14 on his Big Board.

Kouandjio has all the physical gifts NFL scouts want to see in a blind-side protector. In evaluating Kouandjio before Alabama's bowl game, Brugler wrote, "It doesn't always look pretty, but more often than not, he gets the job done with balanced, quick feet and long arms to latch and eliminate defenders from the play. Kouandjio still has room to clean up the mental mistakes and become more technically sound, but the natural skill-set will earn him some first-round grades, maybe among the top 15 draft picks."

Kouandjio's lack of elite foot speed was exposed by Oklahoma as he was beaten off the edge multiple times when Alabama was forced into a one-dimensional attack.

Clinton-Dix is the No. 2-rated free safety behind fellow junior Calvin Pryor from Louisville and projected as a late-first or early-second round prospect. Clinton-Dix is considered a fluid athlete who anticipates the run well and is excellent in coverage with a late burst to close on the ball and good hands.

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