The additional T.J. McDonald a year ago could pay real dividends if the Rams were able to complement him with a more fluid centerfielder to operate at free safety. Clinton-Dix boasts the field-speed, agility and ball-skills to star in this role.
Could the Ravens go safety in back-to-back years? Why not, that's one possibility with James Ihedigbo not expected back and pairing Pryor with Clinton-Dix gives Baltimore a young, dynamic duo. Plus Ozzie Newsome is an Alabama guy, who might not be able to pass on the versatile safety here.
Why take a quarterback here and ignore a position where the Vikings need a day one starter. They can come back around in the second round for Mettenberger.
STRENGTHS: Possesses a lanky, athletic build with light feet, excellent fluidity and straight-line speed to handle deep and nickel coverage responsibilities. Good awareness. Tracks the action well, showing impressive key and diagnosis skills to get a jump on the ball or when attacking the line of scrimmage in run support. Decisive. When he sees the play developing Clinton-Dix doesn't waste time debating, instead exploding towards the ball, showing explosive closing ability. Very good ball-skills. Can climb the ladder and extend outside of his frame to pluck the ball. Physical defender, who looks to deliver the intimidating shot.
WEAKNESSES: Highly aggressive and therefore will occasionally be fooled by misdirection and play-action. Barrels towards the line of scrimmage and leaving cut-back lanes for nifty athletes to exploit. Lowers his shoulder to lay the intimidating hit on ball-carriers and fails to wrap up, at times, relying the collision to knock the opponent to the ground.
COMPARES TO: Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks - Few free safeties possess Thomas' blend of agility, closing speed and ball-skills. Should Clinton-Dix continue to improve, he could soon join Thomas as a Pro Bowler.
Clinton-Dix was one of seven true freshmen to earn playing time in 2011 at Alabama and in 2012, he led the team with five interceptions, setting an expectation for a great junior year, and subsequent entry into the 2014 draft.
While he posted respectable numbers as a junior -- 51 tackles, two INTs, four pass breakups -- he wasn't the consistent big-play finisher he was in 2013, and his season was clouded by a two-game suspension in October for a violation of team rules.
Clinton-Dix's rare combination of size, speed, ball skills and football instincts give him a chance to be one of the best at the next level.
02/20/2014 - 2014 NFL Draft Scout Pre-Combine Top 64 Prospects: 19. *Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama, 6-1, 208, 4.54, 1...Rated as one of the top two safeties coming out of high school, Dix lived up to his prep rep in coverage but comes up short in the physicality department. His instincts and ability to diagnose seem better than his athletic ability, which still is good enough to get him involved in more than his share of plays. Given name is Ha'Sean, but his grandmother gave him the unusual name he goes by. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange