Yet another draft has come around and yet again the Eagles need safety help. It was a glaring hole for the team during a 10-6 season and there’s no denying that talent has to be brought in during free agency, the draft, or both.
One option the Eagles may look at is Alabama’s safety HaHa Clinton-Dix. Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor are considered the top two safety prospects of this year’s draft class and guaranteed first round picks.
At 6-1 and 208 pounds, Clinton-Dix seems to be most comfortable playing more of the center field safety position. However, his size and ability to hit has proven that he can play up near the line of scrimmage when called upon. At this year’s NFL Combine, he recorded a 4.58 40-yard dash time, ranking eight among safeties. Pyror also ran an identical time.
Clinton-Dix started 19 games for Alabama, a team that plays in the rugged SEC and has been known for their strong defense in recent years. His numbers there weren’t incredibly overwhelming, but he has a lot of talent. He is a very sound tackler with long arms, plays pretty well in coverage, and closes on the ball very well by taking smart angles.
Check out this video of Clinton-Dix against Johnny Football and Texas A&M, via DraftBreakdown.com.
One knock on Clinton-Dix is his lanky frame. He may be able to bulk up a little bit, but I don’t think his strength is really a weakness and he’s proven to be fearless when it comes to hitting. At times, he’s known to be too aggressive. I think with time and solid coaching, this isn’t a factor that truly worries me.
Will the Eagles go with a safety in the first round? I think that topic is up for debate. There has been plenty of discussion around the Eagles draft mentality this year and choosing the best player available. I’m curious as to how that compares when you have two guys very closely rated and one plays a position that is much more of a clear need.
As mentioned, Clinton-Dix is one of the top safety talents in the draft this year. He very well may not be available when the Eagles pick comes up. If he is still on the board, you would have to believe that he’d be among the top players remaining on the Eagles draft board.
With the skill set that he has, he is the type of player who can come in and start from day one. He has the versatility to lineup all over the field and is a sound tackler, something the Eagles had trouble with last year. His ball skills aren’t overly flashy, but you can’t deny that he’d be able to help solidify a position of need if he’s still on the board when the Eagles are on the clock.
It would also be cool to hear this sound clip played over and over again at the Linc.